Four Ivy Prep seniors who attended the Black College Expo recently were recruited by admissions officers at four-year universities in the Southeast who were impressed by their academic course load, their grades and professionalism.
The scholars – Deja Washington, Rebekah Bills, Sana Memon and Angel Hodo – were accompanied by members of the Ivy Prep Foundation. The foundation launched a task force in December to help guide the senior class through the college entrance exam and application process. Foundation volunteers have been visiting the seniors weekly on Wednesdays to give them advice on preparing for college interviews, writing academic resumes, and crafting essays for college applications.
When the seniors arrived at the Black College Expo, they were ready to impress. They wore their business dress blazers and carried copies of their academic transcripts, resumes, recommendation letters, and a record of their work in clubs and in community service.
“The four acceptances were all onsite,” said Dr. Nina Gilbert, founder of Ivy Prep Academy. “They are supposed to receive official letters of acceptance from the colleges soon.”
Washington, an Ivy Prep scholar since freshman year, said she struggled to keep her poise when recruiters accepted her at first meeting. She was so surprised she didn’t know what to do.
“I wasn’t expecting to get accepted onsite,” said Washington, of Covington, who was offered a spot at Clark Atlanta University and Bennett College in North Carolina. “I cried on the inside, but I didn’t cry on the outside. I was very happy.”
Bills said she had doubts about getting accepted onsite, too. “You hear about it happening, but I didn’t think it was possible because usually you have to go through the long essay writing and application process,” she said. “Then it happened to me. I got into the school I wanted to go to – Clark Atlanta. It was very exciting.”
Gilbert said as word spread about the polish and professionalism of Ivy Prep scholars, Black College Expo recruiters sought them out. Bills was also accepted to Bennett, Alcorn State University in Mississippi, and Fort Valley State University in Georgia.
So was Memon. “I was really proud of myself,” she said.
Mrs. Victoria Wiley, executive director of Ivy Preparatory Academies was thrilled about the good news.
“It shows what can happen for scholars when you have a village supporting them and helping them to succeed,” said Wiley. “I think it speaks very highly to the professionalism of our scholars, the commitment of our staff to ensure that they had all of the proper documentation, and the support of the foundation. The foundation has been instrumental in assisting our seniors this school year as they applied to college.”
Hodo, who wants to study psychology in college, said she was accepted to her first and second choice schools at the Expo – Bennett and Clark Atlanta. She credits her Ivy Pep education for preparing her for success and the expert advice from the foundation.
“Dr. Gilbert has really shown us that we can believe in ourselves and accomplish anything that we put our minds to,” Hodo said. “Getting accepted on the spot taught me that even when I have doubts, that I should continue to push forward.”
Earlier this school year, Ivy Prep administrators predicted that the Class of 2015 would have a 100 percent graduation and college placement rate. College offers have been steadily coming in since August.
Brittany Gilbert, the first scholar enrolled at Ivy Prep, was the first to be accepted to the college of her choice. Gilbert was accepted to Hampton University, her top college choice, in August 2014 during Steve Harvey’s Neighborhood Awards Expo at the Georgia World Congress Center. Hampton University admissions officials recruiting students at the Expo’s College Fair interviewed Gilbert, looked over her application and transcripts, and gave her a letter of acceptance to take home with her.
Since then, seniors in the Class of 2015 have received acceptances to attend Georgia State University, Oglethorpe University, Agnes Scott College, and Fort Valley State University, all in Georgia; Tennessee State University; and Averett University in Virginia.
“I am weighing my options,” said Washington, who is deciding from acceptances at the Expo and an earlier one to TSU. “Ivy Prep taught me a lot about hard work and being independent. I am ready for college.”
Memon has decided to reject the four college offers she got and stick with her top choice. “I chose Georgia State,” she said. “I’m going to study business management.”
Ivy Prep administrators and supporters are confident that at this rate of college acceptance, the school will achieve a perfect score before the inaugural class heads to commencement ceremonies. Ivy Prep will honor the journey and success of the Class of 2015 at the school’s first high school graduation on May 23 at Georgia Gwinnett College.
“We will have a very special ceremony to celebrate the achievement, perseverance and sisterhood of our girls,” Wiley said.