Key support provided by the Midnight Golf Program is bridging the gap during summer to ensure the recent high school graduates can realize their dreams of going to college. The four-member College Success Team provides this support through one-on-one meetings and programming during the summer months. A significant focus is on college fit.
College Fit + Guidance
During his senior year at Detroit Martin Luther King High School, Narenzo Fleors (MGP ’22) was deciding between Michigan State University and Clark Atlanta University. On a visit to Clark Atlanta during the Road Trip for Success college tour, he decided that school might not be for him. Winston Coffee, MGP College Liaison, advised him to apply to Norfolk State University, an MGP partner school.
Having never been to NSU, Narenzo was glad when Winston and Ms. Reneé Fluker, MGP Founder and President, took him and five other students to visit in June. It was during that visit that Narenzo decided to accept NSU’s offer, including a Presidential Scholarship, which includes full tuition. He is currently participating in their summer bridge program and will attend NSU this fall.
“It was amazing honestly,” Narenzo said. “The visit solidified the decision.”
It is this individualized advising and care that is the foundation of the College Success Program.
“The ultimate goal is for the student to land somewhere that will support them adequately throughout their stay to get them to that moment they are slated to graduate,” said Keiarra Menefee, MGP College Success Coach.
Narenzo appreciates the journey and guidance from Keiarra, his college success coach.
“As a first-generation college student, I was kind of going through this process alone,” Narenzo said. “I’m seeing all of this for the first time. She’s explaining it all to me and breaking it down.”
Dallas Lucy (MGP ’22) is the second MGP graduate to attend Harvard University. His experience in making the decision to go to Harvard was heavily influenced by his coach Keiarra.
They spoke often about his preferences for class size and a campus support system. While Dallas was set on going to a top school for economics, he was also glad to get a good financial package from Harvard. He is pleased that Harvard offers each student an academic advisor.
“Midnight Golf made me a little more confident with my application process,” said Dallas. “I didn’t necessarily think that I met the standards for Harvard or the other big colleges I applied to. It let me know I’m not just supposed to be a good fit for a college, but the college should be a good fit for me.”
During the summer students may face new challenges, like the logistics of getting to school and getting the items they will need, paying for orientation and housing fees, and deciding what classes to take.
Cayla Valentine, MGP Director of Student Support, helps students pivot to Plan B if their first choice of school doesn’t work out. She and the rest of the team work with students to make sure they are ready for college on day one.
That is exactly what Shy’Lexia Hill, MGP College Success Coach, is working on with one of her students this summer. She is working with a recent graduate to get accepted into the right school for her.
“Through high school, she faced some hardship that has affected her grades, and now that school is over, we are trying to find a school that will accept her profile and will be a good fit for and challenge her to be the best that she can be,” Shy’Lexia said.
Determining the right “college fit” is predicated on a balance between a student’s wants and needs in an institution. A student’s wants are categorized by, but not limited to school size, environment, location, major, organizations, and opportunities. A student’s needs are categorized by, but not limited to cost of attendance and their financial gap to attend the institution. – Cayla Valentine, MGP Director of Student Support
Preparing Students to Enter the Workforce
Internships and job opportunities are also top-of-mind for MGP students during the summer. Internships are competitive and many employers require students to apply at least a year in advance. To help students expand their job prospect networks, MGP brought 38 alumni to the Dow Invitational in Midland this July. Through this two-day event, students enjoyed the LPGA tournament and got to meet corporate partners including Kelly Services’ Peter Quigley, Dow’s Karen Carter, Cynt Marshall of the Dallas Mavericks, and many more.
Additionally, to further prepare students for internships and job opportunities, MGP leveraged its network of corporate partners and organized an Alumni Network Mixer event this month for 100 MGP alumni and corporate partners. At this event, students learned about internship and job opportunities at their respective companies, shared their resumes, and in many cases connected students with open positions.
Narenzo said, “Making sure we get to college, helping align our actions with our career interests and staying with us until we reach our goals, I really like what the Midnight Golf program is doing.”
I just want to acknowledge Ms. Renee for what she’s done. There’s no other organization in Detroit that is doing with she’s doing and has done for us. She’s really a blessing for us. – Narenzo Fleors (MGP ’22)