|@St. Norbert May 2008 - Admission Possible collaboration reaches out to a diverse group||St. Norbert College|
Becky Krus ’07 (left) and Rachel Gonnering ’06
Admission Possible collaboration reaches out to a diverse group
“College should not be accessible only for students with funding,” says Rebecca Krus ’07, and she is doing something about it.
Krus serves as a senior coach for Admission Possible, a nonprofit organization in St. Paul, Minn., that helps promising, low-income young people prepare and earn admission to college. She recently visited St. Norbert College with a group of 33 Admission Possible students from the Twin Cities. The high school seniors in the group have all been accepted to St. Norbert.
“A lot of what I do is to make sure these kids understand that a four-year college is a choice for them,” she says. “These are kids that are often presented two-year colleges, technical colleges or vocational schools as their only options. You have to help them see that they have the potential to do it. Help them overcome the obstacles that low-income students or first generation college students face.”
High school students may begin participation in Admission Possible as sophomores. Services include ACT and SAT test preparation, guidance in preparing college applications and assistance in obtaining financial aid.
“No one from my family had ever gone to college,” said Cherish Okorafor, a senior from Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis. “I knew I wanted to go to college, but I didn’t quite know the process. My coaches introduced me to St. Norbert College. It was the first school that sent me a letter of acceptance.”
Okorafor had yet to make her final college decision at the time of the visit. Admission Possible students, who were paired with St. Norbert student hosts, ate on campus, slept in the res halls, visited the admission office, and attended class.
“This is a very large group to accommodate for an overnight visit,” said Rachel Gonnering ’06, assistant director of admission. “It is a challenge to coordinate our students’ schedules, but we really want them to feel what it is like to be a St. Norbert College student.”
“I want to see what classes are like,” said Joe Susag, a senior at Roosevelt who plans to major in education. “I don’t want to see 200 people in a lecture hall. I like smaller class sizes. This visit will be the deciding factor for me. If I fall in love with the college during these two days, I’m pretty sure this will be the place I call home for the next four years.”
A win-win partnership
St. Norbert offers the campus visit as part of its ongoing partnership with Admission Possible. Krus, who works for the program through AmeriCorps, said the collaboration introduces the prospective students to a college they likely would not have considered. In return, St. Norbert is able to identify and attract students from diverse backgrounds.
“I love St. Norbert, but one of the things I frequently would talk about, even in classes, was the lack of diversity,” Krus says. “Our (Admission Possible) students tend to be of minority populations. I think it’s great to bring them here.”
Last year, 99 percent of the 320 Admission Possible students were admitted to college, and 94 percent were admitted to four-year institutions.
The Admission Possible visit was a reunion of sorts for Krus and Gonnering, both of whom began working to spread the word about St. Norbert College when, as students, they worked alongside one another as interns in the Office of Communications on campus.
This spring sees another intern, Briana Jones ’08, considering applying to work with Admission Possible. Jones is a regular contributor to this and other college publications.