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Two Organizations Partner to Help Students Access Resources for College

A leading college counseling organization and an initiative started by former First Lady Michelle Obama have teamed up to form an all-new partnership focused on easing the stresses experienced by high school students and their families during the college admissions process.

The 5-year partnership between Reach Higher and Collegewise, the largest private college counseling organization in the country, is designed to help underserved groups and first-generation college students in particular, access the needed resources to pursue higher education.

Former First Lady Michelle ObamaFormer First Lady Michelle Obama

Reach Higher’s goal is to inspire students from all backgrounds to pursue an education beyond high school by attending a four-year college, a community college or professional training program.

The organization’s mission is in alignment with what Collegewise envisions for the world, said Joel Block, CEO and managing partner for Collegewise. In the 19 years since its inception, Collegewise’s staff have assisted some 10,000 students by advising them on entry testing, applying to college and lastly, selecting an institution to attend.

The two organizations have also partnered on The 2018-19 Guide to Making Your Common App a Lot Less Common, a resource for students and school counselors for creating the best admission applications.

“We are honored to help advance Mrs. Obama’s vision by empowering our youth through access to quality information, starting with the release of our guide to the Common Application, which will show students how to present their authentic selves to colleges,” Block said.

The guide is user-friendly and implies that using the Common App (a website that streamlines the college application process) and applying to college in general is about the student and is not about mechanics, said Eric Waldo, Reach Higher’s executive director.

The guide is unique because Collegewise has combined all the, “tidbits of advice” that’s readily available on the internet into one place, he said.

“We want students-and the counselors who work with them to think about the Common App in broader, empowering terms as that’s likelier to lead to mid-term and long-term success rather than merely technically executing it like a form to finish up,” Waldo said.

The collaboration between the two organizations includes a partnership commitment of $1 million from Collegewise to provide resources to Reach Higher networks.

“The 5-year financial commitment will be used to support existing Reach Higher programs such as College Signing Day and school counselor support and will also be used to develop new programs that speak to the needs (of) school counselors and first generation and underserved students,” Waldo said.

Future programs created with the help of the funds may include college counseling summits with top educators, Waldo said. The summit would be livestreamed and archived online for free, he added.

Reach Higher continues to form collaborative relations with other groups including A-Star Education, whose founder and CEO, Brian Rogove, is now a Reach Higher board member.      

Jamie Rogers can be reached at [email protected] .

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