Finding your dream HBCU is the easy part of the college-going process. Finding money to pay for college can be a challenge, but EST will be there with you every step of the way. Over the years, we have helped hundreds of students get outside scholarships, including four year, full-ride scholarships. However, students must understand that the scholarship search process does not start when you receive your admissions offer. It begins the summer before your senior year.
The deadline to apply is May 1st of every year.
CAP Program Components
- College Counseling and Preparation. We begin working with students as soon as they enter our program to ensure that they are completing and passing the A-G courses (classes required for college entrance). Next, we help them identify colleges that will best suit them, even offering fully funded tours of colleges across the country. We guide them through their college essays and applications and assist them in developing a brag sheet to help their teachers and counselors write strong letters of recommendation. Tutoring is provided to students in need of additional academic support and all our students participate in a 12-week ACT prep course to help them achieve the highest score possible. (The ACT is a standardized test comparable to the SAT but, is widely considered to be a more equitable testing instrument for students of color.) High ACT scores are critical to both the college admissions and scholarship application processes if
students are interested in full-ride (tuition, housing, books, and supplies) scholarships. Wi-fi hotspots are provided on an as-needed basis to ensure students can consistently participate.
- Mentoring and Networks of Support. Monthly mentoring sessions begin during students’ first days with the program and continue all the way through college. This year we are adding a summer peer mentoring component, connecting high school seniors with college students
from our program, expanding their network of peer support. Research shows that mentorship is a highly effective non-academic strategy to support the success of foster youth and it is considered a best practice. The strong bonds that our students and mentors develop facilitate
trust and open communication. Students know that they don’t need to wait for the next mentoring session, they can reach out to their mentor whenever they need help. Once a student has started college, their mentor will help them navigate campus resources, connect with other EST students on campus or at other nearby schools, and guide them in the development of a positive, supportive network on campus. Our students know they are never alone.
- Financial Coaching and Support. As early as their junior year of high school, our counselors help students identify and apply for scholarships to help pay for college. This year, we launched Scholarship Club, which engages parents/guardians of our students in the process of helping to research and identify scholarships. The first Sunday of every month, we host a meeting of the Scholarship Club. The only rule is that each person has to bring at least two new scholarships to share with the group. We also help students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which establishes eligibility for Pell grants, and the California Chafee Grant for Foster Youth application. Our students learn how to read and analyze a financial aid award letter so that they understand the cost of attendance and any funding gaps. A seven-week financial literacy course taught by Loyola Marymount University ensures our students have the skills to manage a tight budget, avoid credit card debt in college, save money and even invest. Along with coaching and education, we award scholarships and emergency support for foster youth.