TMA’s College Counseling Department in Action

Voss-TMA161The College Counseling Team works year-round to equip students and their families with the resources they need to take on a college career. Staying true to our mission to prepare students to succeed in college, TMA invests in a full-time department dedicated to college counseling and alumni relations. For the past decade, the department has achieved many goals—100% college acceptance rate for 11 years in a row and graduating over 500 students, 90% of whom enroll in college immediately after high school and graduate college at rates higher than their neighborhood peers.

Voss-TMA163Mr. Mitchell, Director of College and Alumni Programming and Mr. Winder, Associate College Counselor, are committed to seeing students succeed in college. They lead students on this new and, in some cases, challenging journey every step of the way. From college tours and help with college and scholarship applications to financial planning workshops for families, students have a go-to-source to seek answers to the lingering question that all high school seniors ask—“what’s next?”

Most recently, our senior class worked with 40 volunteers from Accenture, Howard University School of Law, and the local community on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the national of day of service. Students teamed up with volunteers to review more than 50 college scholarships and complete applications. The day-long event also included an impactful workshop that introduced juniors to a variety of summer leadership programs and other enrichment activities that prepare them for college.

P1040120As a way to provide additional support to seniors who need help completing their college applications, TMA hosted its annual College Application Help Night. The evening was dedicated to seniors who work one-on-one with mentors, faculty, and staff to revise their personal statements, navigate the online application process, and write appealing responses to short-answer-questions that are typically included in applications.

Students learn about the variety of scholarships and their eligibility requirements and go through the college application process in Senior Seminar, a course that introduces students to ‘all-things-college.’ But with other programs like the annual College Fair, students are exposed to a number of colleges and universities in addition to other areas of interest that may be worth pursuing after graduation.

“Along with resources that support the students who are planning to go to college and have made that commitment, the college counseling department goes a step further,” said Mr. Mitchell. “It is important to nurture a student’s strengths and listen to their interests that may not necessarily be to attend college right away. So for those students, what is a lucrative next step?” Many of these graduates go on to pursue careers in the US Navy, US Army, police or firefighters academies, and other careers that contain a significant element of community service.

What makes the College and Alumni Programs Department unique is that Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Winder maintain relationships with alumni long after they graduate. Every semester, they make surprise visits to students attending college to encourage them, check in on their progress, and gift them with care packages. Recently, the team took a road trip to upstate New York and visited eight alumni at five universities. The two-day trip started at Daeman College in Buffalo where they caught up with Carlos McKnight (TMA 15′), who is adjusting well to life-on-campus as president of the freshmen class. This semester, the College Counseling Team plans to visit TMA alumni enrolled at colleges in the Raleigh and Durham areas of North Carolina.