College prep course connects students to university reps

07/24/2018 04:45 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The Cherokee Nation Foundation in July hosted 35 high school juniors and seniors along 14 university representatives from across the nation at its annual Cherokee College Prep Institute. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation Foundation in July hosted 35 high school juniors and seniors at its annual Cherokee College Prep Institute.

Students worked closely with 14 university representatives from across the nation to explore schools of interest, research scholarship opportunities and navigate the application process.

“For some students, this is their first look at opportunities in higher education, and our staff works hard to help them consider all the possibilities,” CNF Executive Director Janice Randall said. “We teach them about the resources that are available to help them succeed and guide them through the necessary processes so they don’t get overwhelmed. It is beyond rewarding to see them gain confidence throughout the week and take a proactive role in planning for their future.”

The weeklong camp features classroom curriculum developed in cooperation with College Horizons, the U.S. Department of Education and Princeton Review. Lessons include ACT strategies, essay writing, interview skills and time management.

Outside of the classroom, students worked in small groups and benefited from one-on-one sessions with university recruiters to help them stand out among their peers in the application process.

“CCPI is doing a remarkable job of transforming what once was a shrouded and intimidating process and breaking it down to make it more approachable for the students in a mentor/mentee atmosphere,” Julian Tamayo, Yale undergraduate admissions assistant director, said. “It is so powerful to see our involvement and guidance have a direct impact on their perceptions and mindset as they begin the next step of their academic journey. We’re all rooting for them and hoping they succeed, and that feeling is what fuels the camp.”

Students stay in traditional dorms throughout the week and have opportunities to explore the campus to gain a better understanding of what college life is really like. Additional activities include learning to play stickball, movie night, laser tag, a closing reception and dance.

“Last year’s CCPI was so fun, I knew I had to come back again this year,” Ty Earp, Welch High School senior and Cherokee Nation Scholar, said. “The college admissions process has always seemed so daunting to me, and this week has answered so many questions I’ve had about tuition, application essays and interviews. I feel confident and prepared and am looking forward to what comes next.”

Participating universities consisted of the University of California-Los Angeles; University of Central Oklahoma; Duke University; University of Kentucky-West Virginia-Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation/Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics; Northeastern State University; University of Notre Dame; Oklahoma State University; University of Oklahoma; University of Pennsylvania; Pomona College; Rogers State University; Stanford University; Swarthmore College; and Yale University.

For more information, call 918-207-0950 or email


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