Traditionally hosted the day after YES Prep’s Annual College Fair, this year IMPACT Saturday took place online on Saturday, September 19, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Over 300 seniors, and their families, had access to 23 college representatives from across the country who form part of YES Prep’s IMPACT program.
What is IMPACT Saturday
IMPACT Saturday is presented by YES Prep’s College Initiatives team in conjunction with Admissions representatives from our IMPACT Partner Higher Education Campuses. The curriculum is jointly written by our College Initiatives staff and working groups of college admissions officers. This provides students the opportunity to get perspectives from both sides of the admissions process.
During the online event, seniors had the opportunity to participate and meet other YES Prep seniors in small groups interested in applying to the same IMPACT colleges. They also participated in a mock admissions committee case study, where they gained insight in how colleges and universities make admissions decisions. Finally, students and their parents heard from IMPACT Admissions Officers about the differences in applying to college during the current admissions environment as it has been affected by COVID-19.
Impact on student participant
One of the participants attending IMPACT Saturday online was Alondra Quintero, a senior at YES Prep Gulfton. Even though the event was hosted virtually this year, Quintero shared, “it was a highly interactive event that surprisingly felt like I wasn’t only looking at the screen. The positivity and assistance throughout, gave the sense of community that you would see during an in-person meeting.”
By bringing together several YES Prep campuses to go over the admissions process, like how to apply to college during a pandemic and going over a case study activity to see how admissions chooses future ambassadors for their school, students were able to see the different perspectives on the matter of accepting or denying someone during the admissions process. Quintero said, “At first, I was confident of my choices for our case study, but when I heard from others, I came understand what is really valued in an application. This was a wonderful learning experience that I would not have received if I had not attended IMPACT Saturday.”
Impact stretches to college and YES Prep staff
IMPACT Saturday not only impacts YES Prep seniors but our IMPACT Partner admissions officers as well, as they will be reading their college applications later this fall. Guy Hatch, Assistant Director of Admissions at Kenyon College commented on how he viewed the applicants that he had the opportunity to interact with. ”IMPACT Saturday reinforced to me that YES Prep students are outstanding trailblazers who lead inside and outside the classroom. They will truly enrich the college campuses they attend with their poise and inclusive excellence.”
Emil Niz, Senior Seminar Instructor at YES Prep North Central Secondary, reflected on his experience helping facilitate the event and how it helps staff live out YES Prep’s mission of creating college-going identities for its students. Niz shared, “On the student level, I was amazed at how involved and engaged students were in asking questions and participating in the case study that was part of the event. Additionally, on the program level, IMPACT Saturday demonstrates in three hours all the work YES Prep does to connect some of our high achievers with competitive schools and ensure that they have tools to complete their time there.”
The impact one Saturday morning can make
Most importantly, IMPACT Saturday helps increase students’ confidence about the college application process. Students were asked going into IMPACT Saturday, how confident they felt about the college application process. After attending, over 90% gained confidence in their ability to complete the college application process.
This is clear from Quintero’s perspective, “I can now say I will meet the college application season head on. The first step that gave me confidence, is the quote used multiple times during the event ‘You are not alone’. I can depend on myself to get all my work done, but I can reach out to my counselor, admissions representatives and Mr. Keaton, to polish things off and walk further into my new journey.”
Furthermore, 24.5% of attendees reported that after interacting with IMPACT Partners they feel they are now more likely to attend an IMPACT College next fall than they were prior to attending the event.
IMPACT Saturday is just the beginning
Throughout the fall semester, programming will be continuing for the 330 students who attending IMPACT Saturday. This fall, each of our YES Prep IMPACT partners will be hosting a 45-minute college visit or family night, as part of our Online College Visit Series. Additionally, the YES Prep College Fair will take place on Tuesday, October 6, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, and will host 25 IMPACT Partners. Finally, YES and our IMPACT Partners will be continuing to host supplemental programs for seniors about college essays, admissions interviews, parent programs, and more.
We are excited to continue to engage our IMPACT Seniors, and we cannot wait until Senior Signing Day in Spring 2021 when they announce their college of choice.
To learn more about YES Prep’s IMPACT program, click here.
About the author
William Keaton has worked at YES Prep since 2018. He currently serves as the Student Opportunities and Special Events Associate on the Home Office’s College Initiatives Team. William graduated from Schreiner University with a BA in Political Science and Mathematics and earned his Master’s in Higher Education Administration in 2013 from Ball State University. Prior to coming to YES, William worked for various colleges and universities, including spending four years as the Assistant Director of Student Life and First Year Experience at Eastern Kentucky University. A career educator focused on College Access, William Keaton volunteers with the College and University Food Bank Alliance and with Toastmasters International where he helps facilitate their education programs. In his free time, he can often be found at Sugar Land Skeeter’s games or the movies.