College Access

W&L College Access is committed to raising the number of qualified high school students, particularly from Rockbridge County, who will attend institutions of higher learning. We are focused on breaking down barriers and providing resources -- especially for disadvantaged students. Program participants will be advised about all the educational opportunities available to them and provided with assistance throughout the application and admittance process; we launch initiatives to inform middle schoolers and underclassmen high schoolers of the necessary preparatory steps for the road to college. College Access provides one-on-one and drop-in tutoring and mentoring to help students gain a competitive edge in the college admissions process. W&L College Access has a secondary mission of increasing campus awareness of college access issues, and will facilitate community engagement events including panel discussions, speakers, and documentary showings to achieve this end.

Contact: Cindy Gadley '18 and CollegeAccess@mail.wlu.edu

Constitution

A. History

W&L College Access was founded as part of an Impact Area Initiative within the Bonner Scholars Program. The national Bonner Foundation develops certain initiatives that it expects to be implemented at each member institution. Impact Areas are student-led groups focusing on a specific policy issue like education, or hunger relief. These groups may focus on campus education efforts, advocacy, direct service, or some combination of the three. Four sophomore Bonner Scholars decided that they were interested in addressing the issue of college access with a focus on low income and first generation college students. In order to begin addressing this issue the students held several campus-focused events including a standardized test book drive, and a panel discussion on college access in the fall of 2011. These events led the students to narrow their focus to college access in the local community. As a result, the organization partnered with the guidance department at Rockbridge County High School. In fall of 2012, the students began working in the guidance department to offer drop-in application assistance, mentoring through email, and skills-based workshops to juniors and seniors. Several high school students that participated in the program were accepted with full or partial scholarships to prestigious institutions like Washington and Lee University and University of Virginia. In order to reach a larger number of students, College Access began offering standardized test assistance and a direct mentoring program where high school students are paired with a W&L student mentor who will work with them one-on-one through the entire college application process. This approach aimed to meet the needs of high school students consistently throughout the year.
This Constitution was updated in April 2015 by the executive directors of W&L College Access with majority approval of the general body, and other leadership team members.

B. Mission Statement

W&L College Access is committed to raising the number of qualified high school students, particularly from Rockbridge County, who will attend institutions of higher learning. We are focused on breaking down barriers and providing resources -- especially for disadvantaged students. Program participants will be advised about all the educational opportunities available to them and provided with assistance throughout the application and admittance process; we launch initiatives to inform middle schoolers and underclassmen high schoolers of the necessary preparatory steps for the road to college. College Access provides one-on-one and drop-in tutoring and mentoring to help students gain a competitive edge in the college admissions process. W&L College Access has a secondary mission of increasing campus awareness of college access issues, and will facilitate community engagement events including panel discussions, speakers, and documentary showings to achieve this end.

C. Requirements for Membership

Membership for the general body of the organization is open to all interested Washington and Lee undergraduate and law students, faculty, staff, and community members. Mentoring/Tutoring positions are only open to current undergraduate or law students. An application process including interviews is required for those interested in serving as mentors due to the position's need for a high level of responsibility. Applications and interviews will also be necessary for those wishing to serve in a leadership position.

D. Organization of Leadership:

President

- Oversee all of College Access & lead discussion meetings
- Support board positions frequently
- Liaison between board and tutors (check-in)
- Campus notices updates
- College access weekly e-mail (i.e. campus needs, meeting times)

Administrative Director

- Treasurer - in charge of club funds
- Historian -Take pictures at events and update webpage
- Secretary - Take meeting notes

High School Coordinator (X2) (Preferably an RCHS Burrish intern)

- Liaison to high school administration
- Work with RCHS high school student liaison
- Coordinates after school tutoring at RCHS & helps facilitate rides etc.

Campus Outreach Chair

- Help facilitate events on campus (i.e. Panel Discussion etc.)
- Create banner, posters, apparel and college access gear (i.e. t-shirts)
- Update/create webpage for College Access
- Spread news of College Access events, meetings etc. on social media (facebook, twitter etc.)

Mentoring Chair

- Facilitate one-on-one mentoring program between W&L and RCHS students
- Train new members
- Curriculum

1. Create/update College Access Curriculum
2. Provide handouts and material to mentor

Election Process

- The College Access organization will not hold a typical election process. Instead, officer positions will be determined through a selection process run by the current Co-Directors of the organization. College Access will release applications for officer positions beginning in April, consisting of basic information and a few essay style questions. The Co-Directors will decide which applicants move onto the interview round; interviews will be conducted by at least one Co-Director and the individual who currently holds the position. Result announcements will be made after all applicants have been interviewed.

E. Benefit to Washington and Lee University and the Surrounding Community

College Access will have a significant positive impact on both Washington and Lee University and the surrounding community. First, College Access will provide Washington and Lee students with the opportunity to enhance their interpersonal, academic and mentorship skills through working closely and building relationships with high school students who are seeking to attend college. The high school students involved will benefit from having a positive role model as well as the academic advice and mentorship Washington and Lee students can provide. Additionally, the standardized test preparation will help provide students with the scores necessary for college admission. Furthermore, the campus education events will inform W&L students about issues of college access and poverty. Hopefully, our presence in the high school along with middle school events will lead to more students from Rockbridge County being prepared for and attending institutions of higher learning.
Additionally, College Access intends to have a positive impact on Washington and Lee's relationship with the surrounding community. Few Washington and Lee students have spent time in the high school and currently the options for involvement are limited. Increasing the quantity and quality of our relationships with the Rockbridge High School community will likely positively impact our relationship with the rest of the community as well.

Finally, the monthly meetings component of College Access is a way for Washington and Lee students to learn more fully about struggles and barriers to college access that exist yet are seldom realized or discussed. It will add another resource for the growing amount of students who are interested in improving the state of education inequality and are pursuing teaching degrees or alternative forms of teacher certification. Since these meetings are open to professors and community members, it will also strengthen those relations and will allow students to hear a diverse array of viewpoints.