How many of you reading this post were first generation college students? Probably very few. How many of you applied to multiple colleges and universities? And how many college applications did you submit? Six? Eight? Ten or more?  Did you take the standardized college entrance exams multiple times, and in some cases even take prep-courses? Whether we can say “yes” to many of these questions for ourselves or have completed this process with our children, for most economically challenged families and their young high schoolers, they simply cannot. Unfortunately, they are not fully aware of the college application processes, therefore they are already a step behind. There are many colleges and universities eager to embrace an achieving minority student, but neither the colleges know who they are nor the students and their families experienced enough in the complexities of applying to college.

This is a key point in Malcom Gladwell’s important podcast series, “Revisionist History”. Malcolm’s series has had a profound impact on us at Agape North. We strongly encourage the family of businesses, faith-based organizations, and schools that purchase from us and the teachers and administrators that receive gifted school uniforms, to set aside the time and listen to Episode 4, “Carlos Can’t Remember”. www.revisionisthistory.com

 

What Agape North takes away from Malcom’s podcast, mainly supported by the research of Caroline Hoxby and Christopher Avery in “The Missing One-Offs”: The Hidden Supply of High Achieving, Low Income Students” (http://www.nber.org/papers/w18586 ) is that these hard working students from low-income families need a strong, knowledgeable, and determined voice. They need an advocate, someone to support them during the college application process, encourage them to reach for great colleges, and bring college admissions departments and resources to them.

Our greatest take away from this podcast, is that we must bring these students and the institutions of higher learning together. We all can quickly summarize that a college fair night makes sense. We know that colleges and universities would never invest limited resources to visit charter and public schools, in areas like South Memphis or North Nashville. At Agape North we can think of dozens of schools with thousands of students that the economic challenges of visiting colleges is too great. If the students cannot visit amazing colleges, and the colleges do not have the ability to visit them, we might as well admit defeat. This does not sit well with us at Agape North.

Agape North is going to raise its hand and state, “we are going to be an advocate for these students.” Working with many of you, our customers, we will be planning our first Agape North College Night – Memphis 2017! We are going to work with the schools in economically challenged areas around Memphis and invite a defined percentage of the students in those schools to meet a large number of admissions departments representing colleges and universities from around the country. We want these institutions of higher learning to know that Memphis is a city full of potential.

Details will be coming out soon about this exciting event. If you are one of our customers and want to be an advocate with us for our hard-working students, please reach out to us. If you are an administrator or teacher in a school outside of Memphis and would like to bring a group of your students to our event, please email Jason Baker, Director of School Relations, at jason.baker@agapenorth.com.

Michael Deutsch / Partner