On an early Saturday morning in October, Jose Mejia, a senior at YES Prep Northbrook High, hopped off the METRO bus on West Tidwell Road to attend this year’s IMPACT Saturday event. On October 8, he and over 180 of his classmates in the Class of 2023 gathered at YES Prep White Oak Secondary for a day of workshops, networking with college admissions officers and admissions interviews at IMPACT Saturday.
What is IMPACT Saturday
Part of the IMPACT program, IMPACT Saturday is presented and prepared by YES Prep’s College Initiatives team in conjunction with admissions representatives from our IMPACT partner colleges and universities. The event’s goal is to help increase students’ confidence in the college application process.
During IMPACT Saturday, participating seniors from different YES Prep schools meet in small groups with other seniors interested in applying to the same IMPACT college or university. Seniors have conversations with admissions representatives about the benefits of attending their campuses, while also discussing the types of culture shock they may experience going to college far from home or attending a predominantly white institution (PWI).
IMPACT’s impact on Jose’s college journey
As for Jose, “I decided to attend IMPACT Saturday to get an extra step toward college readiness. I wanted to obtain more context on how the admission process worked at the different IMPACT schools.”
While at IMPACT Saturday, Jose and some of his classmates participated in an admissions interview. He shared, “I participated in the interview to show Saint John’s University I am very interested in their school. Ms. Paola, their admissions officer, has become a great friend of mine through the IMPACT program and it was very enjoyable to share the experience of doing my first admissions interview with her.”
Attending IMPACT Saturday reinforced his motivation for college. “It was really inspiring to believe that someone like me, a Hispanic YES Prep alumnus, could one day be a part of these amazing institutions...debt-free!”
The impact one Saturday can make
Among the many sessions and workshops seniors participated in were selecting a part of their admissions application and receiving feedback on it, they received coaching on how to prepare for a college admissions interview and participating in a mock admissions committee case study where they gained insight into how colleges and universities make admissions decisions.
Families are also invited to participate in IMPACT Saturday. Families who attended had the opportunity to participate in a “case study” activity to understand college financial aid award letters and how to evaluate their affordability. The event also helps parents feel more confident about their child going away to college. Jose shared, “My mother and I have had that conversation about going away to college, and even though some of these IMPACT colleges are far, she supports me in reaching for my dreams 100%.”
IMPACT Saturday is just a step in the process
Seniors who attended IMPACT Saturday were participating in their third IMPACT workshop, having participated in IMPACT Saturday as juniors in January 2022 and the IMPACT Institute back in June 2021.
Thanks to the partnership, our IMPACT partners provide additional opportunities for students to connect with their colleges including fly-in programs for those exploring the colleges or for those admitted to visiting the campus. Since IMPACT Saturday, Jose has had the opportunity to participate in one of the fly-ins. “I was honored to receive a travel grant to the University of Virginia. It was such an amazing and fascinating experience; I was able to picture myself there. This is very helpful when considering which IMPACT college I want to attend.”
Looking to the future
Graduating in May 2023, Jose is excited about what the future holds. He is specifically interested in studying nursing in college and has been working to connect with all our IMPACT partner colleges and universities that offer undergraduate nursing programs. Both Saint John’s University, who he interviewed with at IMPACT Saturday, and the University of Virginia are high on that list.
Thanks to the IMPACT program, Jose feels ready for what’s to come in his college journey. “At IMPACT Saturday, I had the chance to plan out the next steps in the college admissions workshop. The workshop really helped me plan out what my next steps are for the rest of the school year and what I will do depending on the different situations I encounter.”
If you would like to learn more about our IMPACT program, please click here.