Cherokee Nation Foundation recently hosted 35 high school juniors and seniors at its annual Cherokee College Prep Institute last week.
Students worked closely with 14 university reps from across the nation to explore schools of interest, research scholarship opportunities and navigate the application process.
“For some students, this is their first look at opportunities in higher education, and our staff works hard to help them consider all the possibilities,” said Janice Randall, executive director for CNF. “We teach them about the resources that are available to help them succeed and guide them through the necessary processes so they don’t get overwhelmed. It is beyond rewarding to see them gain confidence throughout the week and take a proactive role in planning for their future.”
The weeklong camp features classroom curriculum developed in cooperation with College Horizons, the U.S. Department of Education and the Princeton Review. Lessons include ACT strategies, essay writing, interview skills and time management.
Outside of the classroom, students worked in small groups and benefited from one-on-one sessions with university recruiters to help them stand out among their peers in the application process.
“CCPI is doing a remarkable job of transforming what once was a shrouded and intimidating process and breaking it down to make it more approachable for the students in a mentor/mentee atmosphere,” said Julian Tamayo, assistant director of undergraduate admissions at Yale. “It is so powerful to see our involvement and guidance have a direct impact on their perceptions and mindset as they begin the next step of their academic journey. We’re all rooting for them and hoping they succeed, and that feeling is what fuels the camp.”
Students stay in traditional dorms throughout the week and have many opportunities to explore the campus to gain a better understanding of what college life is really like. Additional activities include learning to play stickball, movie night, laser tag, a closing reception and a dance.
“Last year’s CCPI was so fun, I knew I had to come back again this year,” said Ty Earp, senior at Welch High School and Cherokee Nation Scholar. “The college admissions process has always seemed so daunting to me, and this week has answered so many questions I’ve had about tuition, application essays and interviews. I feel confident and prepared and am looking forward to what comes next.”
Local students included Grayson Gourd, Fort Gibson High School; Chase Hendricks, Tahlequah High School; Noah HorseChief, Hilldale High School; Ashley Jobe, Wagoner High School; Ryan Jones, Wagoner High School and Summer Jones, Haskell High School.