As juniors’ and seniors’ college application season approaches, the thought of applying for scholarships doesn’t leave their minds. The Posse Foundation provides a scholarship that many students dream of being granted. Posse is known as “one of the most comprehensive and renowned college access and youth leadership development programs in the United States.”
The foundation works to discover students with strong academic performance and leadership roles in public high schools across the country. These special students may be overlooked in a traditional college search process. However, Posse welcomes them with open arms. After a rigorous selection process, students are placed in teams or “posses” of 10, those of whom are given a full-paid tuition to Posse partner colleges and universities. However, that is the last step in the long and demanding road to a Posse scholarship.
The process begins in the spring of junior year, or the start of senior year, when teachers begin to nominate the students. To be considered, a student must be nominated by two or more teachers in their school or community, be a rising or current senior, and demonstrate academic and leadership potential.
Seniors Camilo Bacca, Jose Balcazar, Avery Budin, Sydney Campagna, Gaby Diaz, Rachel Ellis, Victoria Fonseca, Robbyn Jimenez, Keana Mercado, Valerie Montesino, Logan Morris, Juliana Robles, Ray Rodriguez and Teague Scanlon have made it to stage two of the Posse scholarship process. However, these students are not guaranteed Posse scholarships. Reaching the semi-finalist round is a huge accomplishment, as it is a very competitive process.
These students have undergone what is called DAP 1 of the Posse scholarship application process. This phase consisted of many different things.
“So far I’ve gone through DAP 1, a large group interview; there were about 40 kids. The most bizarre thing was being told to walk around the room as if we were rushing to class or pretending to be Beyoncé’s backup dancers. It was an interesting experience. It’s awesome to have made it this far because I’m just a step closer to hopefully winning the scholarship and going to Syracuse University,” semi-finalist Robbyn Jimenez said.
The next step is DAP 2, which consists of a personal interview.
“They now go to the next round called DAP 2 and if they make it through that, they are finalists. However, not all finalists get chosen as Posse Scholars. Once a student is a finalist, the college admission folks from all the Posse schools fly into Miami to interview them and they decide who they take. The ones they choose are the Posse Scholars,” College Assistance Program (CAP) Adviser Mrs. Stack said.
Maura Torres, a Gables alumnus and Posse Scholar from last year, shared advice with the students currently in the process.
“Honestly, I know this sounds corny, and I say this all the time, but during the whole process just be genuine, be yourself; don’t be scared of what they’ll think; as long as you’re yourself, you’ll be fine. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there,” Torres said.
Once the Posse Scholars are chosen, their journey with the Posse Foundation doesn’t end. It only continues to travel with them.
“The Posse experience for me is something still present tense. It’s something continuous. Posse isn’t just a scholarship. The Posse experience is something always changing; it pushes me beyond what I think I’m capable of. It kind of forces you to become a better person because there are nine other people with you that you must support and [it] makes you own up to your mistakes,” Torres said.
The finalists for Posse will not be known for a few months. Until then, the current group of 14 semi-finalists will continue to work hard as they travel the pathway to what they hope will be a Posse scholarship.