Preparing for College

The Posse Foundation

What do you think of when you hear the word "posse"? I think of movies about the wild west. "Round up a posse and we'll bring that varmint to justice!" Posses have a generally negative connotation. Check out these formal definitions:

1. A group of people summoned by a sheriff to aid in law enforcement.
2. A search party.
3. A gang involved in crimes such as running guns and illegal narcotics trafficking.
4. Slang A group of friends or associates.
For the purposes of this discussion, however, we'll stick to #4, mainly "a group of friends."
USA Today published an AP wire story about a different kind of posse at Bryn Mawr College. Here's an excerpt:
When Sharhea Wade arrived at Bryn Mawr College from a big-city high school, it seemed as if every other student on the quiet, leafy campus had graduated from an exclusive private school. "I felt intimidated by them," recalled Wade. "Bryn Mawr is a different world."

Yet whenever she felt like a fish out of water, Wade could turn to her "posse" — nine other girls who, like her, had been recruited from struggling Boston-area school districts and sent on full merit scholarship to the elite women's college.

Wade's posse is one of dozens sent to top-tier universities each year by the New York-based Posse Foundation. The combination of monetary and social support is a model that experts say could help move the U.S. toward President Barack Obama's goal of having America lead the world in the percentage of college graduates by 2020. Next fall, the program hits the Ivy League when it debuts at Penn . . .

So, what's the scoop on this Posse Foundation? According to their Web site:

The Posse Foundation identifies public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. Posse's partner colleges and universities award Posse Scholars four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarships. These Scholars graduate at a rate of 90 percent and make a visible difference on campus and throughout their professional careers.

The Posse Foundation could not exist without the support of its partner colleges and universities. These institutions have awarded more than $265 million in leadership scholarships to Posse Scholars across the country.The following is a list of Posse's partner colleges and universities and their recruitment cities.

Posse is one of the most comprehensive and renowned college access and youth leadership development programs in the United States. In fact, President Barack Obama recently said in an interview in The Chronicle of Higher Education , “One of this year's MacArthur awardees—the 'genius' awards—is an innovator named Deborah Bial. She proposed a model to identify promising students from disadvantaged urban backgrounds using an alternative set of qualities as predictors of success in college. …The students that are selected form a 'Posse' and are provided with extra supports, and end up graduating from selective colleges with a very high
success rate."
Posse has sites in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. This fall, we are opening our seventh site in Miami.

So, saddle up and check out what the Posse Foundation can do for you next fall when you ride out on the range of your chosen college campus.


Don't forget to check out all my admissions-related articles and book reviews at College Confidential.