Great organization that helps over 700 first in their families to attend higher Ed institutions. Over $6 million in financial aid was awarded to CollegeTracks applicants last year. They support students throughout their college experience so they not only enter but also get through it and are poised for success. 10 years old this year!
CollegeTracks is an exceptional organization, led and staffed by committed individuals who really make college an opportunity for low income kids in Montgomery County. It provides a service that just would not be there if CollegeTracks wasn't-- test prep, application process, financial aid, and working thorugh all the complexity of 'first in their family' low income kids understanding and navigating the process. The staff and volunteers are great, and it is so fulfilling to see these kids shine and really take a step to building a better future for themselves!
I work with students to navigate the college application process. The majority qualify for free and reduced lunch and are first generation college aspirants and/or english is a second language so help from home is more limited. The subject matter of their essays shows maturity, bravery, and perserverance; they undergo experiences that most of their peers never face. They don't always understand that they are unique in overcoming unusual obstacles. They all understand the importance of a college education. I greatly admire how much they can/have accomplished on their own and with College Tracks guidance. The leverage to society of College Tracks' work is enormous.
These high school juniors and seniors are primarily first generation college go-ers and lack guidance at home to complete the process. Their essays are wonderful testaments to the difficulties they have overcome, from homelessness to English as a second language, to working while attending school, to caring for their family members while attending school. There is no question that they want to attend college; they just need guidance to complete the process to get there.
College Tracks is a powerful educational model for bringing the community together to support low income students and their families. It provides unique and sorely needed opportunities to educate students about the college process, obtain pubic grants and private scholarships, and balance their current needs with their dreams for the future. College Tracks also educates parent volunteerss on the college process and the challenges facing underserved communities. Its a win-win partnership and its leadership deserves the highest commendation!
The people who run College Tracks genuinely care about giving top-quality educational opportunities to students whose family finances would shut them out from these resources. College Tracks dedicates itself to recruiting and encouraging students who start out with fewer advantages and less academic preparation than their peers--and the program gives them the opportunity to work on skills that will help them to compete and succeed, encouraging them to pursue a college education. I applaud the organization, and I have tremendous respect and admiration for the fellow teachers and tutors who offer top-quality instruction to students who need it most.
A lean, extraordinarily effective organization. Just ask the hundreds of students whose lives they have changed at B-CC and Wheaton High Schools.
I have been involved with CollegeTracks since January, 2007. I am the past president of the Board, a current Board member, and an active volunteer. I currently help prepare kids at Wheaton High School for the ACT.
College Tracks is an amazing college access nonprofit assisting underserved students in Montgomery County. Not only is it helping students attend college, but in the process students are learning more about themselves; gaining self confidence and trusting in their abilities. The staff works with students one-on-one in an encouraging and positive environment. They look at each student's individual situation and tailor college suggestions appropriately. After college acceptance they are not "forgotten" but actively followed by College Track's College Success program. College Tracks is truly making a difference in students lives and it's so exciting to be a part of it. I'm sure volunteers and staff would agree that we are the lucky ones to be able to get to know and work with these fantastic students!
The company I work for works with College Tracks by providing standardized test preparation assistance. We typically work with a small group of students for 2-4 months leading up to an exam. College Tracks steps in to provide so many services, all of the services, that so many of these students need in the college process. As a volunteer, I have appreciated how easy College Tracks has made it for me to jump right in with the students and focus on what they need that I can give them. They have been flexible with my schedule in setting up sessions. College Tracks is making a tangible difference in the lives of all of its students.
College Tracks is a well run organization with a well-defined mission: helping kids make it to college who don't have the parental/advisee infrastructure available to guide them throught the college application process. I have worked with many kids who are in college now, who would not be there without the help that College Tracks provided. These are smart, able kids who just need advice on how to navigate the VERY DIFFICULT application process.
As a pediatrician and a parent, I understand how difficult it can be to navigate the college application process for even the most pampered children. Helping the student population at Wheaton High School is immensely gratifying as they are often without home support and they are tremendously appreciative. Many are new immigrants and/or first generation college attendees. Getting into college will hopefully enable their entire family to benefit from their experience. I have learned as much from them about their life's experiences as they have learned from me about the application process. I love reading their college essays and helping them tell their own often fascinating stories in their own voice.
Collegetracks changes lives because it gives students the opportunity to attend college and fulfill their dreams. Ten years ago when my children entered high school, not every child was encouraged to stive for a college prep curriculum. It was obvious that the students left behind were in a different socioeconomic situation. Many came from other countries and had no idea how to approach the American college application process let alone apply for financial aid. These are the resources that Collegetracks provides in a one-to-one setting that is supportive and encouraging to all. It has been hugely successfull and now hundreds of students in Montgomery County are making it to college who may never had had the opportunity.
I've worked with well over 300 organizations. College Tracks ranks among the most impactful and least egotistical - it will do whatever it needs to do to have the biggest impact in terms of helping more kids go to college and be successful in their college experience. On a more macro level, it's actually created an awareness and a movement around a cause -- bringing sector leaders on board (from education, govt and business) to 'own the cause' and create long-term change in the community.
I started volunteering at College Tracks because I realized, from my own parenting experience, that you need an involved, experienced and concerned adult to get through the complicated process of applying to college. College Tracks is the most rewarding volunteer experience that I have had--the students are motivated, appreciative, and we know that college makes a huge difference in a person's life. Nancy Leopold, the founding Executive Director is brilliant; and the staff is caring, smart, empathic and creative. I have also participated as a volunteer in a newly created College Success program because the staff understands that the students also need support once they get accepted to college and through their college experience.
If this wonderful organization could be duplicated in every school and every city, a college education would become accessible to many more of those students who have not dared dream of the possibility of attending a college or university or of being able to afford to go. The staff and volunteers work one-on-one with students and their families by guiding them through the college application and scholarship search process. In addition to helping students gain access to a college education, there are programs that help guide students once they have been accepted and enrolled. Students all know that they will find help and support at College Tracks.
There are many players in the field of education non-profits. CollegeTracks is effective in ways few others are. PrepMatters happily supports teh organization with both time and money, for the staff and volunteers of CollegeTracks people are demonstrably improving college access and changing outcomes for hundreds of students every year.
This wonderful organization provides support with a big smile, for any junior or senior at BCC high school who wants to even think about going on to college. We help students explore colleges and find financial help, and help keep them "on track" with all the applications and deadlines. And now there are follow-up workshops and other resources to help students make it through college. Extremely well organized and well managed, with wonderful staff who make all the students and volunteers feel special.
I have known about CollegeTracks work in the community since their inception and the impact they make daily on the lives of students and families in our community who don't have the expertise to get to college and find enough money to attend once accepted. CollegeTracks has a unique model of recruiting and working with students who can sometimes slip through the cracks in the system. This model works for our community and ensures that students working with CollegeTracks meet every milestone necessary to get the best opportunities available. CollegeTracks also has an innovative way of individualizing the college access process, therefore students don't feel as if they are cogs in a factory chain.