What kind of students do you work with?
- Attend a Bridgeport area public school that has a population where the majority of students qualify for free lunch or meet other income or family guidelines
- Are predominately first generation applying to college
- Often do not speak English at home
- May lack information about educationally appropriate colleges that offer full need based financial aid
Where do you meet? How often?
Introductory meetings take place at school during a student’s lunch or free period, after school or on the weekend. Then, in the summer, as work on applications begins, advisors are in touch via email, Skype and phone calls,
dedicating hours to revise drafts of essays. Summer meetings are also quite typical.
Are there rules to follow in the Commence! Program?
Yes. Our program is rigorous and we hold our students to high standards. Once a student decides to work with us, they sign a pledge to follow our guidelines.
- Attend all meetings (group and individual) or notify us 24 hours in advance of your absence
- Email all drafts of work at least 24 hours before a meeting
- Meet all deadlines, especially for drafts of college application pieces
- Notify us of the outcomes of all your college applications, including the financial aid
- Update us, as we request each spring, about your progress at college
Do students fill out an application for your program?
Yes, after hearing about our program through classroom presentations or through a teacher, students fill out a simple application and return it to us. There is no GPA requirement; students are required to commit to the hard work during the application process.
How many students are in your program?
We offer presentations about the college admissions process to well over 75 juniors each spring. On average we expect to work with 20-30 students individually with the current size of our organization.
Do students have to be applying to competitive schools to work with you?
No, we are happy to work with dedicated students who meet the guidelines of the program, and who are applying to a range of four year post high school institutions.
Are your services really free?
Yes. Our students and their families pay nothing for the hours and hours of expert advice of our adult advisors.
How often does a student hear from and see an advisor?
Commence! advisors strive to be available to our program participants, whether answering application questions via E-mail or meeting via Skype or at school to discuss an essay topic. Advisors stress that work needs to be started early and be completed well before deadlines. Students waiting until deadlines approach will find it
extremely hard to get last minute help from busy advisors.
Are there guarantees?
No. There is no way to predict exactly what student will be accepted to a particular school. Too many highly qualified students are vying for spots at too few schools. That is why we work hard to have students submit applications to a variety of schools, including reach, middle and likely choices. Although sometimes there is disappointment about not getting into their “dream” school, all of our students have ended up with great choices offering enough financial aid to attend college.