Mychal Wynn is an author and educational consultant specializing in college planning, increasing student achievement, closing the achievement gap, literacy instruction, parenting, and increasing black male achievement.
Mychal Wynn
Inspiration, Motivation, Strategy
College Planning CohortsTM

College Planning Cohorts

High school counselors are often responsible for 200 - 500 students and cannot provide the personalized guidance to prepare students for the highly competitive college admissons process (as indicated in this Amherst College admissions video). In extreme situations, counselors may be responsible for as many as 1,000 students (' The High School Guidance Counselor Shortage ' Pratt 2013). Many counselors openly acknowledge that they spend as little as 22 percent of their time assisting students with college planning and nearly 1 million students have no contact with school counselor (' Undervaluing of  School Counselors ' Murphy 2016). Working with such a huge number of students, it is unlikely that counselors can provide hands-on and longterm college planning and scholarship guidance to students, particularly those who are most in need, such as students from lower-income backgrounds, those who will be the first in their family to attend college, students who are immigrants or undocumented, and students who are simply overwhelmed with the college planning process. 
   

Provides Guidance and Insight

College Planning Cohorts (TM) are designed to compliment the role, or fill the void, of high school counselors by assisting students and families with developing 'Strategies' to maximize the K - 12 experience, become competitive applicants for gaining admission into the 'right' colleges, and qualifying for the 'right' scholarships. After having developed effective strategies for our older son to gain admission to Amherst College and our younger son to be selected as a 2012 Gates Millennium Scholar, in 2013, my wife and I developed the College Planning Cohort (TM) Model as a means of developing ‘Small Group’ support for high school seniors at our church ( Turner Chapel AME Church in Marietta, GA). Working with a dedicated group of Small Group Coaches, participating students received an extraordinary and highly publicized level of college admission, financial aid, and scholarship offers (Atlanta Journal Constitution, ' Church helps students strike gold on scholarship search ' 5/28/2014; Christian Post, ' Georgia Church Helps Student Members Receive $4.3 Million in College Scholarships ' 5/29/2014). 

How Cohorts Operate

Cohorts are designed to operate for an academic year from September through May. Beginning in September, college planning activities are assigned on an average of one per week through a College Planning Cohort Online Google Classroom. Students complete the activities and post a comment summarizing what they learned to the classroom where they comment on, and exchange ideas with other students. All student work is stored on the Google Drive where students continue to expand their body of work throughout the cohort participation. 

Currently, online classrooms have been established for high school seniors, students in grades 9 - 11, schools, and for faith- and community-based organizations, Students participating in our College Planning Cohorts have achieved remarkable college and scholarship outcomes:
 
  • Increased GPAs
  • More rigorous course taking
  • Fewer discipline infractions
  • Increased leadership and extracurricular activity involvement
  • 5 Gates Millennium Scholars
  • 3 Posse Foundation Scholars
  • The first Meyerhoff Scholar selected from South Carolina
  • Acceptance into such highly selective colleges as Amherst College, Williams College, Pomona College, Cornell, Emory, Kings College of London
  • Invitations to highly selective diversity weekends at Amherst, Williams, and Swarthmore
  • Acceptance into colleges where students have been able to earn their way into full scholarships such as Tennessee State, Howard, Spelman, and Morehouse
  • Full scholarships to such HBCUs as Xavier (LA), FAMU, and Howard
  • Students who are successfully pursuing STEM-related disciplines at such institutions as Xavier (LA), Spelman, Winston-Salem State, UGA, Mercer, UMBC, Claflin, and Georgia Tech
  • Students who have successfully attained their undergraduate degrees and are now attending graduate, law, and medical schools
 
Making the 'right college choice' and finding he right 'fit' can have a huge impact on degree attainment and the amount of student loan debt. Each year, our students provide testimony to our success through their involvement on our annual College Discussion Panel, hosted each December during students’ first semester break. Our panelists share their experiences and provide important insight into their journey regarding their college choice, financial aid, and campus experiences.

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When I began the college planning process I had no plan. I knew that I wanted to go to college, but I had no idea of what was required. Mr. and Mrs. Wynn used the strategies outlined in this book to guide me through the process and helped me to get accepted into 8 colleges, gain acceptance into the ‘Call Me MISTER’ and SPECTRA programs at the College of Charleston, and become one of only ten employees throughout the country to receive a $5,000 Foot Locker Associate Scholarship.
   
— Avery M., High School Senior, Lake City High School (Lake City, SC)
We began our Solano College Cohort because we believed that Mr. Wynn's success in working with high school seniors could be duplicated with community college students in planning their pathways into 4-year institutions. Not only has our faith in the process proven well placed, our students have accepted ownership of much more than their academic achievement. Supported by the guidance and activities of Mr. Wynn's program, our students have developed comprehensive pathway plans of leadership, community service, course taking, and grades. They have so thoroughly researched 4-year institutions that will meet their unique needs and family circumstances, there is a sense of purpose in our students that I have rarely witnessed in all of my years of teaching. Mr. Wynn has done much more than give them a plan, he has given them hope.
— Karen McCord, Psy.D., Umoja Director, Solano Community College (Suisun, CA)
Mr. Wynn frequently tells the ‘Starfish’ story and challenges educators with the questions, ‘Who are your Starfish? Who are the students in whose lives you know that you have made a difference?’ Mr. Wynn and his wife, Nina, are ‘Starfish Masters.’ They have made a direct impact on the lives of thousands of students and families through their published works, hands on guidance, and inspiring presentations. The success of our 18-student 2015 College Planning Cohort is nothing short of legendary. Our students amassed over $3.3 million in scholarships and financial aid, including our district’s first Gates Millennium Scholar, Meyerhoff Scholar, and Questbridge Finalist. Their success inspired over 100 rising seniors to sign up for our 2016 cohort. There has been an amazing cultural shift in the attitudes and expectations of students, teachers, parents, and throughout the entire community. We know that the strategies work and that the college pathway is wide open for our students.
   
— Yvonne Scott, Director of College, and Career Readiness, Florence County School District 3 (Lake City, SC)
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When I began the college planning process I had no plan. I knew that I wanted to go to college, but I had no idea of what was required. Mr. and Mrs. Wynn used the strategies outlined in this book to guide me through the process and helped me to get accepted into 8 colleges, gain acceptance into the ‘Call Me MISTER’ and SPECTRA programs at the College of Charleston, and become one of only ten employees throughout the country to receive a $5,000 Foot Locker Associate Scholarship.
   
— Avery M., High School Senior, Lake City High School (Lake City, SC)
Mr. Wynn has been instrumental in kicking off our 'Black Male Learners Book Club.' His books, 'Follow Your Dreams: Lessons That I Learned in School' and 'The Eagles who Thought They were Chickens' are not only been instrumental in cultivating an attitude of black male intellectualism, but they have inspired our young me to become leaders in their schools and positive contributors to their communities. Not only does Mr. Wynn's journey allow him to connect with our youth, his insight into their attitudes toward school, challenges they face in school, and hopes and aspirations for the future, make him uniquely gifted in fostering relationships, inspiring learning, and moving youth to becoming proactive in closing achievement gaps.
— Patrick Johnson, Director of Academic Excellence and Equity, Tacoma Public Schools (Tacoma, WA)
Mr. Wynn frequently tells the ‘Starfish’ story and challenges educators with the questions, ‘Who are your Starfish? Who are the students in whose lives you know that you have made a difference?’ Mr. Wynn and his wife, Nina, are ‘Starfish Masters.’ They have made a direct impact on the lives of thousands of students and families through their published works, hands on guidance, and inspiring presentations. The success of our 18-student 2015 College Planning Cohort is nothing short of legendary. Our students amassed over $3.3 million in scholarships and financial aid, including our district’s first Gates Millennium Scholar, Meyerhoff Scholar, and Questbridge Finalist. Their success inspired over 100 rising seniors to sign up for our 2016 cohort. There has been an amazing cultural shift in the attitudes and expectations of students, teachers, parents, and throughout the entire community. We know that the strategies work and that the college pathway is wide open for our students.
   
— Yvonne Scott, Director of College, andCareer Readiness, Florence County School District 3 (Lake City, SC)