Milwaukee student Mahmoud Hasan didn’t have much hope of attending college until, one day during his sophomore year, a College Possible coach came up to him and his friends at their lunch table at Alexander Hamilton High School and asked if they were interested in college. Mahmoud said yes, found paperwork to sign up for College Possible in his hands the very next moment, and the rest is history. Now a junior, Mahmoud’s applied to six colleges and received word of his acceptance by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Cardinal Stritch University. He is also in the final interview round for Marquette University’s Educational Opportunity Program. Mahmoud is one of 217 low-income high schoolers in the state who have already earned admission to college with the help of College Possible. The success of these students offers a stark contrast to the general statistics, showing upper-income students to be nearly ten times more likely to earn a degree than their low-income peers. College Possible invites you to get to know Mahmoud and the rest of his cohort as they celebrate their growing list of college possibilities, choose a college and gear up for their freshman year.
“As the first in my family to go to college, I needed a little more help than what my mom could give me,” said Koren, a senior at Milwaukee High School of the Arts. Koren’s mother instilled in her the drive to go to college, not having had the opportunity herself. “I cannot stray from my goal to become a psychologist or a psychiatrist. I know education will take me places. Because of College Possible, I don’t have anything hindering me from going on to my next step – college.” Koren has been accepted to six colleges, and was awarded two fly-in visits to campuses across the country.
College Possible, an organization working to coach low-income students to and through college, encourages students to apply early for their top choice colleges. “My coach helped me understand that applying early makes a big difference. I am so proud that I’ve already been accepted to six great schools and have time to consider my options” Mahmoud said. “Before College Possible, I didn’t think I’d have the opportunity to be prepared for the ACT. I might have attended a tech school, but never would have considered going to Marquette or another prestigious school. Now, I know I could be an engineer, and that’s what my coach Luke and I are working toward.”
“Most low-income students don’t know that starting early means starting the fall of their senior year and that it can lead to many more college choices,” explained Edie Turnbull, Executive Director of College Possible Milwaukee. “In many cases students’ chances for admissions are higher early on because of rolling admission deadlines. In all cases, it’s worth starting early so students can spend the winter and spring focusing on earning the scholarships and financial aid needed to bring their top choice schools within reach.”
Each member of College Possible’s 2016 cohort was encouraged to apply to at least five colleges by mid-December, making them highly competitive applicants and allowing them multiple options when deciding where to ultimately enroll. This year’s 354 seniors have already submitted 1,726 applications.