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Program sends Hawaiian students to mainland for college prep

September 3, 2014 - 12:05am

Applications will be available soon for the 2015 College Horizons program that will send students who have recently finished 10th or 11th grade to Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where they will spend five intense days working on an individualized plan that identifies colleges suitable for them to apply to, get admitted to, and receive adequate financial aid to make attendance viable.

College Horizons is a not-for-profit organization founded by former director of admission at Hawaii Preparatory Academy Whitney Laughlin. The program supports the pursuit of higher education of Native American students, the most underrepresented population on U.S. college campuses. American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students are eligible.

The program offers students the opportunity, all expenses paid, to travel to the host site to work with 45 to 50 college admission professionals.

Attending the 2014 College Horizons program were Kayla Furtado and Aulii Mahuna, both rising seniors at Kanu o ka Aina New Centry Public Charter School.

Furtado said, “Although I was initially skeptical, the experience was life changing. Once I arrived at Dartmouth College and met other native students with the same dream of higher education as a tool for success, I realized the program was a special gift. I encourage other Native Hawaiians to apply and participate in the future.”

While at Dartmouth, college admission professionals helped the students develop a top 10 list of viable schools, and taught them how to write a meaningful college essay, how to develop a strong resume and how to navigate the complexities of financial aid. Each participant leaves the program with several college admission professionals on-call to serve as mentors as the students move through the process of application, acceptance, decision and matriculation.

The 2013 program was hosted by Hawaii Preparatory Academy and the 2015 program will be hosted by two sites, Bowdoin College in Maine and Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

For more information about Kanu o ka Aina, visit kanu.kalo.org.