Promising Futures-Faculty & Staff News - Carnegie Mellon University

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Promising Futures

CMU Partners To Give High School Students Tips for College Search Process Abby Houck

More than 200 sophomores and juniors from Pittsburgh-area high schools got a head start on selecting the college that’s right for them at College Success 101 this past May at Carnegie Mellon.

The one-day conference, sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Admission and the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, covered topics such as the college search process, admission criteria, financial aid and scholarships and major courses of study. The conference also served as a refresher course for 26 area high school guidance counselors.

“We started hosting College Success 101 after discussions at the 1998 Pennsylvaina Association for College Admission Counseling Conference,” said Kathryn Bethea, assistant director of undergraduate admission at CMU. “Our targeted population comprises students who are qualified to go to college but lack the information, support and /or money to ensure college access and success.”

The organizing committee, which includes co-chair Wahab Owolabi, assistant director for employer development at CMU’s Career and Professional Development Center, will soon launch College Success 102, a trip to The Pennsylvania State University main campus in State College.

“We hope to secure additional funding so that we can continue to be sustainable and expand our efforts,” Bethea said. “One of our committee’s goals is to develop programs and services that benefit schools, students and families throughout the year.”

Amy Alexander, a Penn Hills High School guidance counselor, brought a group of students to College Success 101 for the first time.

“I am going to advocate for Penn Hills students to attend yearly,” Alexander said. “I believe it opens up possibilities that some would not otherwise consider for themselves.”

Alex Johnson, president of the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), delivered this year’s keynote address. Linwood Harris, associate director of masters admissions at the Tepper School of Business, also spoke and encouraged students to take advantage of the day’s events as opportunities to explore and define their future plans. The conference concluded with a college fair that offered access to representatives from more than 30 area colleges and universities.

Brittani Uberti, an undergraduate admissions counselor at Chatham University, said that students asked good questions about class sizes and her university’s nursing program.

Penn Hills High School juniors Keanna Hill and Tychelle Law spoke with admissions representatives about their respective interests in music education and accounting. They also reflected on their top take-aways from the College Success 101 workshops.

“Today, I learned that you really have to focus on customizing your application essay and not send the same one to every school,” Hill said.

Jhordan Stoutmire, a sophomore at Propel Andrew Street High School, started to research colleges and universities online and decided to attend the conference to meet admissions representatives in person.

“I’m interested in schools that offer programs in computer animation, science and technology,” Stoutmire said.

College Success 101 is planned by a 22-person committee with members from California University of Pennsylvania, Carlow University, Carnegie Mellon, Chatham University, CCAC, Investing Now, Penn State, University of Pittsburgh, The Pittsburgh Promise, Point Park University and the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh.

In addition to Bethea and Owolabi, committee members from CMU included Damian Dourado of the Carnegie Mellon Advising Resource Center and Cornell LeSane, Andrew McMillen, Jackie Sizemore and Allison Weingart of the Office of Undergraduate Admission.