MVYLI College Preparatory and Field Trip Program 2010-2014
The Martha’s Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative’s College Prep and Field Trip Program helps students explore their options and make good decisions aligned with their career goals. We help them identify and maximize their resources.
We work with a new group of juniors and seniors, some are the first in their family to go to college. This year MVYLI youth aspire to become an editor, entrepreneur, economist, environmental law, environmental scientists, green engineer, computer scientist, farmer, small farm lobbyist, doctor, nurse, physical therapist, physician’s assistant, criminal justice, college professor, and special education/sign language teacher.
We have a wide range of students who benefit from our programs.
College Field Trips: Martha’s Vineyard youth have a higher than average drop out rate as college freshmen. They face various challenges – from adapting to off-island life to balancing studies and social activities. Some are from single parent families or the first in their family to attend college. Some don’t have the opportunity to visit colleges before they attend. They may study hard, get good grades, apply to college, get accepted, get financial aid and then travel there, sight unseen. MVYLI has taken students to 13 different Massachusetts’ colleges. We arrange for tours as well meetings professors and college advisors who can then assist them with their decision-making and application process. We have also conducted video interviews with colleges across the country so that MVYLI youth are able to explore their college options nationally. We also hosted a workshop with the Howard University’s Director of Admissions. Over 20 students have benefited from these College Field Trips.
ACT College Test: Last year MVYLI developed a pilot program to provide training and access to the ACT testing. College Admissions Directors advised us that this test was recommended for students of color as well as those with learning disabilities. Since this test wasn’t available at MVRHS, we made arrangements directly with the ACT offices to have MVYLI youth take the test at Falmouth High School. We received materials/workbooks etc. and conducted workshops to prepare students. MVYLI youth had great results – their test scores improved by 200-400 points. While we had hoped MVRHS might adopt this pilot program, it’s not possible at this time. As a result, we’ve requested and received special arrangements to become a non-school testing site. We will offer ACT to all Vineyard youth at MVRHS and MV Charter School. The first test is October 27. 10-50 youth will attend.
Benefits to Island Youth and the Community
• Expanded access to alternative college testing to enable more students to qualify for four-year colleges.
• Increased number of youth increasing their test scores for their college applications and scholarships.
• Increased number of youth applying for and getting accepted by four year colleges of their choice.
• Increased number of youth completing first year of college, continuing into their sophomore years etc.
• Positive press about Vineyard youth in their portfolios that results in visibility to scholarship opportunities.
MVYLI is a year-round program that begins with the annual Youth Leadership Summit each June. During this weeklong program youth envision their lives, their island and the world. MVYLI then provides them with leadership development opportunities starting with the College Prep & Field Trip Program. MVYLI youth produced a video on their experiences visiting colleges, to inspire other youth to follow in their footsteps and visit colleges in the fall, vs. waiting until the spring semester: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX6mMOoh0Rc