On June 7th and 8th, the College Initiatives (CI) team hosted the annual IMPACT Institute where eligible rising seniors learn more about the IMPACT program. This year, 29 of participating colleges and universities and 230+ rising seniors and their families attended. IMPACT Institute is an opportunity for students and families to explore college options, understand admission criteria, and learn techniques to assemble competitive applications.
Southwest’s Director of College Counseling, Peter Olympia, shared some insights as to how IMPACT exactly works and recent changes to the program:
In what grade are students informed about the IMPACT program? How do students know if they are eligible for IMPACT?
Ideally students are informed about the program in 9th Grade Seminar and throughout high school. Eligible juniors are invited to attend IMPACT Saturday in the fall. This is one of the first opportunities students will meet representatives from the various IMPACT partner schools. Junior Spring Trip is another possible touch point. Then IMPACT Institute, college campus Fly-ins, and high school visits are all available for eligible students. The CI team works with students and families throughout Junior and Senior year to identify best fit among the IMPACT schools and to strategize on how to become an IMPACT Scholar.
When a student becomes an IMPACT scholar, does the college/university meet the family’s 100% financial need? If so, is this for every student?
The college/university reviews the student application and determines if they are admitted and designated as an IMPACT Scholar. If that happens, then yes the college/university will meet the need of the student through a combination of scholarships, grants, work study, and possibly loans (many schools try to avoid the offering of loans in award packages). Some schools may admit students but not designate them as an IMPACT Scholar. If that is the case, the school is not required to offer an award package that meets full need.
In what ways was the Institute or the program itself changed? Are there new features or partnerships?
There is a renewed emphasis to increase the number of YP students matriculating to our IMPACT partner schools. This includes the formation of an IMPACT Committee, a working group made up of YP campus CI representatives. There is a plan to increase communication among YES Prep and our IMPACT partners which will develop stronger relationships and better advocacy for our students. Clark Atlanta University (our first IMPACT HBCU) signed on to the IMPACT program this past spring. We are hopeful to sign similar colleges/universities this coming year.