Oberlin Assists Town’s College Applicants

Bo Arbogast

To the Editors:

It’s that time of year again — not the holidays, the college application season! For the past several years, the College community has been reaching out to students at Oberlin High School to help young people prepare their college essays. The college essay is only one part of a stu- dent’s application, but it is an area where a person can write about something meaningful and try to stand out from the crowd. The essay also presents a ripe opportunity for “freaking out,” as a senior at the high school told me recently. As many of us recall, it’s hard to come up with a good, original topic that makes you sound humble yet flawless. To help in this process, Jill Medina from Oberlin College Admissions met last month with a group of parents and students at the high school to review how to “market yourself” to colleges. Sociology Professor Greggor Mattson was also instrumental in two “College Essay Workshops” held this fall. Professor Mattson has a real knack for eliciting great essay topics, turning things like, “My basketball coach is really inspirational” into a much deeper exploration of how the admirable qualities in the coach have inspired an individual to pursue a college degree. At these same essay workshops, a number of current Oberlin College students donated time and energy to help students craft better essays, including sophomores Reuben Benzel, Veronica Colegrove, Miranda Fisher, and Sophia Myers; junior Monica Klein; and seniors Jerome Goings and Madeline Schultz. All of these workshops were sponsored by the Ninde Scholars Program, a community-based program designed to help more young people from Oberlin High School go to college. An important aspect of the pro- gram is the pairing of tutors from the College with highly motivated high schoolers, most of whom would be the first in their families to attend college. This year’s tutors are double-degree juniors Tamara Fingal and Jerome Goings, double-degree senior Sam Rowe, College senior Sophie Schacht and College junior Rose Wesche. The tutors have done an outstanding job this year helping high school seniors and juniors do what needs to be done to prepare for and apply to college. Many thanks to all who have supported and worked on this effort!

–Bo Arbogast
Director, Ninde Scholars Program