By Mrs. Nicholle Wyatt, Counselor
While most of us were enjoying our summer traveling or simply relaxing at the beach, Mrs. Wyatt spent her summer at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, helping first-generation, rising seniors achieve their dreams of attending an Ivy League college.
Mrs. Wyatt was hired from a pool of 150 college counselors from across the United States to join the USC Bovard Scholars Program: a 3-week residential program that helps high-performing, low-income high school students gain acceptance specifically to Ivy-league colleges.
“This is the inaugural year of the Bovard Scholars Program, and I’m excited to be a part of it,” Mrs. Wyatt said. “They specifically hired me because of my college admissions expertise, passion for working with first generation students and flexible nature.”
Mrs. Wyatt worked with four other college counselors, including the Dean of College Counseling at Harvard-Westlake, The Windward School, La Cañada and Animo Venice Charter. “I enjoyed spending time with the other experienced counselors – their energy and creativity was infectious — and the Bovard directors were eager to pick our brains and open to tweaking the curriculum based on our needs,” Mrs. Wyatt said.
During the 3-week program, Mrs. Wyatt was matched with 10 rising seniors, walking them through all facets of the college application process: from finding top-tier schools that would be a good match for their individual skill sets, to helping them draft their essays, letters of recommendation packets, and resume.
“It was an intensive program, working with the students five days a week for three straight weeks and putting in 8- to 12-hour days. But it didn’t feel like work because I was doing something I love,” Mrs. Wyatt said.
Admission into the Bovard Scholars program is extremely competitive, with a majority of the applicants being first-generation with a 4.0+ GPA, demonstrating high financial need, and representing 22 states. Despite it being a huge time commitment – with Mrs. Wyatt living in Los Angeles and Mr. Wyatt staying home as a single parent for a month – the experience was well worth it. “Knowing I was helping an underserved population achieve their dreams of attending highly selective colleges was an opportunity I could not pass on,” Mrs. Wyatt said.
Mrs. Wyatt will continue to work with her 10 Bovard Scholars through graduation, and has been tasked with developing a parent component to the program.