Friday, February 24, 2012

Beyond SATs, Finding Success in Numbers

This great article about the Posse Foundation – and a nice mention of KIPP:

Today the Posse Foundation selects about 600 students a year, from eight different cities. They are grouped into posses of 10 students from the same city and go together to an elite college; about 40 colleges now participate in the program.

Most Posse Scholars would not have qualified for their colleges by the normal criteria. Posse Scholars' median combined SAT score is only 1056, while the median combined score at the colleges Posse students attend varies from 1210 to 1475. Nevertheless, they succeed. Ninety percent of Posse Scholars graduate — half of them on the dean's list and a quarter with academic honors. A survey (pdf) of 20 years of alumni found that nearly 80 percent of the respondents said they had founded or led groups or clubs. There are only 40 Posse Scholars among Bryn Mawr's 1,300 students, but a Posse student has won the school's best all-around student award three times in the past seven years. Posse is changing the way universities look at qualifications for college, and what makes for college success.

…"In a way Middlebury was exactly what I needed," she said. "It was a convenient bubble where everything was safe and O.K. and you don't have to tell everybody your business."

The posse was key. "It's so easy to get lost. I couldn't imagine going to college without a group of people I already knew. I don't think I would have made it." They were all studying different things, she said. They didn't do homework together, but they held each other accountable for doing it. "If you needed somebody to get you out of bed and get you to the library, Antoinette" — a Posse member — "would get you to the library." The Posse members, she said, held each other up to the standard they had set: "how are you doing in class, how you behaved socially and whether you were supporting people you agreed to support."

Brown graduated in 2009, cum laude. Conscious of her good fortune and eager to give back, she joined Teach for America and taught 6th grade social studies at a KIPP charter school in Newark. Now she is in graduate school at Columbia, studying theater.


February 15, 2012, 9:09 am

Beyond SATs, Finding Success in Numbers


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