Full College Scholarships for Some BSGE Students Reply

In this year’s senior class, three students, Matthew Grey, Karina Rhem, and Oliver Ponce have been granted the elite Posse Scholarship. The scholarship covers all four years of tuition. For Matthew Grey, who will attending Babson College, that is over $156,000. Karina Rhem will be attending University of Southern California and receiving over $164,000 and Oliver Ponce—who was accepted to Colby College—is receiving about $204,000.
“I went crazy. I was shaking, crying, yelling and laughing,” Karina says about the moment she found out that she was accepted. “The first person I called was my mom,” said Matthew Grey.
In 2009, the scholarship was granted to only about 4.7% of the over 9,000 nominees nationwide. Students must go through a rigorous admissions process that is designed to find students “who might have been missed by traditional admissions criteria, but who can excel at selective colleges and universities.”
It begins by being nominated. BSGE college counselor Peter Wilson.  He nominated all of this year’s candidates but it is also possible to be nominated through a community organization. After being nominated, students go into first rounds, which is a large, group interview with over 100 other students and ends with a quick essay. The students engage in different activities that force engagement and test leadership skills. The group of candidates is then cut in half.
The remaining half move onto second rounds, which is an interview with two Posse staff members. Prior to the interview students must also write an essay. Karina thought the personal interview was “not very intimidating and very open.” Students who are still in the running after the interview are considered finalists and must apply to the school of their choice as an early decision candidate. Then, they are interviewed by the dean of admissions of the school and a group of Posse directors. Shortly afterward, they are informed of the school and Posse’s decision.
Sarina Strohl, of BSGE’s class of 2010, is one of many BSGE students currently attending college under the Posse program. She speaks affectionately of her Posse group members, describing them as a great “support system” but warns that she doesn’t think every Posse works as well as her’s. “Posse is not for everyone,” she says but adds that orientation at Colby was significantly easier because she already knew 9 people well.
The Posse model seems to work. Over 90% of Posse scholars graduate from college. After being accepted, students meet with their “posse” of 9 other students throughout senior year. Then, once they start school they are also required to meet weekly and attend certain events and activities together. The program started in 1989 because someone said, “I never would have dropped out of college if I had my posse with me.”
There are a few drawbacks to applying to Posse. Probably the most daunting being the requirement that students apply to their school as an early decision candidate. This means that regardless of whether they receive the Posse scholarship, if they are accepted into the school, they have to go. They are required to maintain minimum GPA. It is also not available at all schools. Students must choose one of 38 partner colleges and universities. The scholarship does not cover room and board costs. However, most students decide that these are small drawbacks to essentially attending college for free.
For more information check possefoundation.org

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