This sounds like a great program. Having a diverse student body is important for all the students at Grinnell. I know it's something my son values highly. I'm glad the school is making the extra effort to help students with challenges survive and thrive.
I'm just curious--Why did this "Posse Foundation" gave merit aid to students who ultimately became dropouts? Whoever decided these students deserve a place in college would be so dispirited by their lack of insight by now.
Because they saw their potential as students and the diversity of life experience they would bring to the community. The purpose of the Posse Program is to give them the support they may need to succeed and it's working very well.
bethievt, could you comment on how well the students from this program are integrated into the community at Grinnell? The article makes it sound as if they stick to themselves and hints that white students think they are only there because of their race. My daughter is considering Grinnell, she's white but attends a majority black high school, and wants to find a place where races mix comfortably with each other.
I just got back from visiting D at Grinnell and the posse students do not seem to be singled out or identified any more than FA recipients would be. There are several black students (male and female) living on the hall with D and the kids do not isolate-they are one big group. D does not detect any tension and is becoming good friends with a student who may or may not be posse. I think the point of posse is simply to provide the kids contact with each other so that they can talk out normal adjustment issues with someone coming from a similar background (really not that much different than my daughter enjoying talking with other students she's met from the south-missing trees, southern comfort foods, etc) and, since these are first generation college students, providing them with the support that other kids can get from their college educated parents.
During the parent weekend, I sat and talked with two black moms who were there to visit their children just as I was. To me, the racial interaction seemed much more relaxed than it did at D's HS which was in a liberal university town. D has verified this as well in her experience and has not detected palpable social class or ethnic tension.
As a matter of fact my son's sophomore roommate is in the Posse Program, which we only knew because he volunteered the information. He said the program has been very helpful to him and he goes to regular meetings with his posse, but he clearly was fitting in with kids from all backgrounds. This is a very socially warm campus.
I'll add that the posse program also works with the kids before they come to campus, helping them bring their writing and other skills up to college level and getting them prepared for a very different environment.
I think the point of posse is simply to provide the kids contact with each other so that they can talk out normal adjustment issues with someone coming from a similar background (really not that much different than my daughter enjoying talking with other students she's met from the south-missing trees, southern comfort foods, etc) and, since these are first generation college students, providing them with the support that other kids can get from their college educated parents.
well said, hornet. also, the Posse students are VERY carefully screened - they go through several rounds of competition before being accepted into the program, so those who become "dropouts" are, by far, the exception.
another note: the current Grinnell student government president is a Posse student, which I think reflects well on Posse AND Grinnell.
The student body president spoke at the parent's assembly during first year orientation last month. She was an upbeat, unassuming, intelligent and approachable young woman who well represents the school. She is simply "another Grinnellian".
Thanks for the compliment, PRJ.
At certain points, this article makes it sound as though the Posse Foundation "takes a chance" with students who, based on their socio-economic demographics, are very likely to become dropouts. In actuality, Posse scholars must go through a highly competitive and selective process to even be considered for the generous scholarships. Initially, I thought I wouldn't get very far in the process. Being a college-bound Southeast Asian student hardly qualifies as "diverse" these days. To my surprise, I continued to advance in the competition, and learned that Posse staff members truly take the time to get to know their potential scholars by scheduling group interviews, one-on-one interviews, and application review sessions. After meeting other competitors, I realized that I was in the company of students who, although are disadvantaged financially, could very well be Ivy League-bound. After the grueling, yet, fairly quick screening process, the Posse staff members were able to narrow it down to 80 scholars out of a pool of 2,500 nominees. I'm extremely honored and proud to say that I am one of those scholars, and will be attending Grinnell College in the fall as apart of its 8th posse from Los Angeles County. I recommend all parents to look into this foundation and speak to your childrens' counselors about nominations.
P.S. Did I mention that my hard-working parents don't have to pay a dime? I love the Posse Foundation!