5th Annual College Retreat
PSP’s rising juniors and seniors gathered together at University of Southern California on Friday, August 5 to kick off Partnership Scholars Program’s 5th Annual College Retreat. This year the retreat was expanded from two days to three. Students partook in a host of workshops led by experts to prepare and equip them with the tools they will need for the college application process.
Scholars from the PSP cohorts in Lennox, El Monte, Hawthorne, Fort Bragg, Mendocino and Ukiah traveled to campus and stayed overnight in USC’s dormitories, allowing students experience a taste of campus life. For many participants, the weekend afforded them a chance to engage and network with other high school students experiencing similar circumstances and grappling with common concerns. Along with scholars, 10 of PSP’s mentors and PSP staff supported the retreat, allowing in-depth learning to take place for scholars and volunteers alike.
First-generation college graduate Marlené Lopez of the Plus Me Project delivered Friday night’s keynote address to students, relating her story of personal struggle and encouraging students to set their goals high, no matter what their circumstances. Saturday and Sunday’s programming included workshops covering college admissions, financial aid and literacy, exams, personal statements, communication and networking. Students even found inspiration and rejuvenation with a yoga session Saturday afternoon on USC’s quad. Saturday evening, students heard from a group of PSP alumni who shared their own stories of challenges and successes as they made their way through college. “I learned so much about the college lifestyle, and thanks to the alumni panel I got to hear about the difference between high school and college,” said one rising senior.
Another scholar wrote that she felt heartened by the weekend’s content, citing the workshop on the college admissions process, presented by Mateo Corby of Better Angels, as especially helpful. “He gave me hope about actually getting accepted to a university,” says Kimberly. After his second retreat, a Mendocino scholars was energized and inspired by what he learned over the weekend. “With the tools that I learned from the workshops… after each session I was more and more prepared to take on the challenge,” he said.
Mentors who stayed with the group of students through the weekend felt that taking advantage of new information that will be helpful as they support their scholars in the coming year. “The retreat was a learning experience for [us] since we’re not very conversant with the college application process nor funding these days,” said one Lennox-based mentor. An El Monte mentor agreed, saying “this retreat was important for me as a mentor because it updated my knowledge about the college application process, so I can better understand how to guide my students. It also gave me the opportunity to network with other mentors.”
To find out more information about PSP’s annual college retreat, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can download many of the materials from the weekend’s workshops below.