We invite you to listen to the voices of our students, as they reflect on their 2015 and 2014 experiences at College Horizons:
Everyday was an extreme learning curve. I feel prepared to take on my senior year and am less afraid of the admissions process. I feel that i have grown both culturally and academically within such a short period of time.
Kaya Tate, Navajo Nation, CH 2015 Bowdoin Alum
College Horizons is the GREATEST college preparation program in the United States. The faculty and staff genuinely care about you and your future! I feel honored to have been in such a program and I wish I could go every year for the rest of my life!
Alyssa Farrow, Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation, CH 2015 Bowdoin Alum
I was skeptical at first on if this program really did care for native youth, but it honestly did. I liked how Carmen saw something in everyone of us that we didn't even see in ourselves. Honestly before this program I knew I was an okay student but after talking to my mentors and small group leaders they made me feel more important and that I was a high achieving student.
Alize Wilson, Kickapoo Nation, CH 2015 Bowdoin Alum
Before coming to this program I had no idea how many options there were out there for me. I have seen the beauty of different cultures coming together as a team that encourages. I have learned the I can give test, grades, and applications my all. And that I will.
Kiana Wood, Chinik Eskimo , CH 2015 Stanford Alum
I would recommend this program because it is a rare, once in a lifetime opportunity for young native students who deserve a shot, to grow in their strengths, and to keep pushing forward.
Daniel Corpuz, Native Hawaiian, CH 2015 Bowdoin Alum
I absolutely loved how in one week, I came from knowing very little about the college admissions process to knowing all that I do now. Also, being able to connect with so many native youth from across the United States and making meaningful connections with all of them in pursuit of a common goal is something that I will treasure forever.
Blake Henson, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, CH 2015 Bowdoin Alum
College Horizons was a experience I'll never forget. I met so many new people that I know i'll keep in touch after this program. It was a place where I felt included and a place where I belong. I learned so much from all the staff that really helped me out on preparing myself for the next step of college.
Rianne Matsuda, Native Hawaiian, CH 2015 Stanford Alum
The faculty is amazing. They take off their own time to come help you make the best impression you can make. They care about you so much, the love you feel around the faculty and even the students is unreal. Applying to college doesn't seem so scary now, I feel like I'm ready.
Shay McPherson, Tlingit, CH 2015 Stanford Alum
I grew so much at the program, as a person and a scholar. I have a new-found confidence in myself and my academics. Any native american student who doesn't apply, is denying themselves the opportunity of a lifetime, and I would give anything to go back.
Katelyn Rea, St. Regis Mohawk, CH 2014 Dartmouth Alum
This program has helped me in ways I never imagined, I was expecting a summer camp of sorts and when I came here I realized the passion behind our leaders and faculty and they saw potential in each and every one of us, no matter our stories or interests, I would recommend CH due to the fact it is more than learning about college and financial aid, it is a growing experience as well. Rising juniors and seniors MUST have a program like CH in their life, especially if their high school is uninformative.
Marissa LaFountaine, Colville Tribe, CH 2014 Dartmouth Alum
Everyone was amazing. They are all so knowledgeable and the are all so helpful. Everyone wants you to succeed.
Charles Akao, Native Hawaiian, CH 2014 Dartmouth Alum
This experience is life changing and you learn lessons you will carry with you forever.
Kayla Johnson, Eastern Band Cherokee, CH 2014 Dartmouth Alum
At its heart, the college search is a soul search;
when it’s done right, a student comes to important conclusions about who they are, where they have been and where they want to go. On the face of our program, students visita college campus, live in dorms for one week, churn out drafts of their college essay and are challenged on a daily basis to weigh and study their college options. But deep inside, important realizations are being made. No matter where they come from – as Native students, as first-generation or low-income students, coming from reservations, islands, or urban city centers, our youth realize that they have the strength to not only navigate this transition, but to thrive in it. When it is done right, this process is transformative. It is medicine.
We tell our students the truth about college - what it can be like to be a Native student in a predominantly non-Native institution and how difficult it can be to be away from home. But we also coach them on the good – the vast advantages of acquiring a college education, what types of knowledge are available and where to go for support - academically, financially and personally, in order to thrive and graduate. Most importantly, it’s about emphasizing the cultural strengths and resiliency we share as Native peoples and using that connection to homeland and community to fuel their way through college and beyond.
At our program we emphasize the idea of Nation Building. We must empower our communities by investing in our youth. We will ultimately benefit from that expertise when our students graduate and come back. The students we select to come to our programs already express a deep desire to deliver service to their communities. It’s our job to set our young ones up with a road map, to and through college, to return with the much needed skills and expertise to advance our communities. We are not just preparing our students to become educators, doctors, lawyers, dentists or leaders or how to get into the “best” school - we are making sure that these students understand their role as citizens of their Native Nations and communities in that process.
Our program has evolved over time to become the most successful avenue for Native students to explore, apply and succeed in college programs.
Today, 99% of the students we graduate from College Horizons are enrolling in college programs. 85% of College Horizons alumni graduate from college in 4-5 years - well above the national average for Native students AND for any national demographic; Nation-wide, only 52% of Native students directly enroll in college. Just 39% of those graduate from college in 6 years. By comparison, 74% White students directly enroll and 62% graduate in 6 years. (Source: The State of Education for Native Students, Education Trust, August 2013.) By all measures, our programs are a huge success.
To date, our programs have helped over 2,700 students explore their pathway through higher education. This year, we served 100 students from more than fifty tribal nations and over 23 states. We dispensed over $40,000 in financial aid to make our programs affordable for our students and families. But we can’t end our vision there. We know that out of the 325,000 Native high school students out there, we are only serving a small slice. Imagine if we could build upon our success and create pivotal and affordable programs to serve students in 7/8th grade with their transition to high school. Prep programs for 9th/10th graders on academic planning, study skills, and test preparation. Or programs for Parents to help with tax preparation, financial planning, college savings, and completing the FAFSA. With your continued support this will not only be possible but inevitable.
Help us advance our work.
These students are more than just students to us; they are the future community, intellectual, health and business leaders for our nations and will set a new tone for generations to come. These young leaders are our medicine. Together, we can build more support and better programming for our children to ensure their success while helping them maintain the connection to where they come from. We can create a network of future Native leaders who will bring real and lasting change to our communities. Thinkers that will not only shape Indian Country but bring their cultural knowledge and worldviews to bear upon the problems of the world. If we tackle these issues as a community and build the support to do it, we will all see the benefits for generations to come.
Finally, if we are asking for our students to be Nation Builders, we must set the example. As we launch our 2014-2015 Annual Fundraising Campaign, we humbly ask that you help us in any way you can – donate what you can, pledge a monthly amount - then ask friends or relatives if they can donate or convince your tribal business council to sponsor our programs. We truly need your support if we hope to continue offering these transformative experiences for our students.
College Horizons is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, therefore your donations are tax-deductible.
For more information about our programs and the students we serve, please follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
Many thanks in advance for your support!