College Possible visits George Washington High School

Life lessons: College Possible Philadelphia, a service that helps low-income students get into college, supports about 40 George Washington High School students annually. Above, executive director Jen Weikert talks with a student. Source: Ian Reitz

College Possible is a system that makes college admission possible for low-income students. Last week, representatives visited George Washington High School to talk to students and families about what the program offers.

According to College Possible, only 31 percent of low-income students earn a bachelor’s degree within six years of enrollment at college. Students involved in College Possible have a 52 percent graduation rate within six years.

“We look for students who have a 2.0 GPA. We call that the academic middle,” said Jen Weikert, executive director of College Possible Philadelphia. “We feel like those 2.0 students also get left behind.” Weikert said students typically range between 2.0 and 3.0 GPA and are 200 percent or more below the poverty line.

This is the fifth year they have worked with GWHS, working with 40 juniors and 40 seniors each year. College Possible reaches six schools in the region, including Jules E. Mastbaum High School in Kensington.

College Possible starts working with students in their sophomore or junior year of high school. In their junior year, they attend after-school sessions and take four practice SAT exams to help them prepare.

Source: Ian Reitz

In senior year, they encourage students to apply to at least five colleges. They help students pick colleges based on social, financial and academic fits, as well as the “X factor” that students feel when on campus in that college’s community. Students will receive help on each step of the application process. Once the student is accepted, they help apply for financial aid and scholarships.

Once the students are in college, College Possible will continue to work with them with ongoing financial aid coaching and developing studying skills.

Two counselors are at the school full time. Last year, 92 percent of the class of 2018 was admitted into four-year schools.

All services for the students are free.

At the end of the meeting, parents and siblings present to support the students were given Walmart gift cards as a thank you for their time. One student’s brother took off from work to support his sister after hearing about the meeting.

“She is very bright but you guys are making sure her knowledge is getting through the right way,” he said. ••

Students can learn more and sign up at collegepossible.org

Source: Ian Reitz