LEDA Scholars Program

College Guidance

LEDA believes that college is a match to be made, not a prize to be won.

LEDA’s College Guidance work continues after the Summer Institute during Scholars’ senior year of high school, as Scholars continue to be empowered with the knowledge and confidence to pursue admission to colleges that match their abilities and goals.

"They made me feel as though I was capable and deserving of great schools and I'm proud to say my perspectives on college have changed, and my own self-image has also changed for the better."

Many of our Scholars have never considered applying to a selective college. They may not even know anyone who has gone to school out of state. Others may have considered applying to excellent schools but don’t have the financial resources or expert support that it takes to successfully complete the grueling application process. Most will be first-generation college students whose parents may not understand the process, and attend high schools whose college counselors have huge caseloads. (The national average is 478 students to one counselor.)

LEDA fills this gap.


of LEDA Scholars have enrolled at an Ivy League school

Local college-access organizations do incredible work with under-resourced students, but most don’t specialize in working with high achievers. Other programs seek superior students but match them only with partner colleges. LEDA takes a broader, more student-driven approach. Our College Guidance staff works with Scholars during the Aspects of Leadership Summer Institute and through their senior year of high school to provide them with the knowledge and support needed to enable them to apply to colleges that fit their interests and feel right to them – the way more affluent students make their application choices. It puts them on the road to finding and attending a college that will help them fulfill their extraordinary potential.

Our direct services:

  • A college guidance course during the summer institute focused on understanding what makes a college a good academic, social and financial fit, as well as the nuts-and-bolts of the application process
  • Exposure to a wide range of selective colleges through college visits, information sessions, college panels, info dinners, and college fairs presented by admissions officers and targeted specifically to our Scholars
  • Support in developing a balanced list of 10 to 12 “best fit” colleges
  • Academic success planning for the senior year, including standardized test planning
  • Monthly (or more) college guidance meetings in person or by phone throughout the senior year to provide academic and personal support during the application process
  • Planning for college “fly-outs,” program where students are invited to visit a college to get to know the campus, students, ad faculty
  • Detailed feedback on college applications, CSS profiles, and FAFSA

have enrolled at a Barron's "Most Competitive" school

  • Coverage of all fees for applications, standardized tests, score reports, and CSS profiles that are not covered by waivers
  • Detailed feedback on all college essays and personal statements by LEDA writing instructors
  • Scholarship application planning and support
  • Detailed recommendation letters that contextualize Scholars’ unique backgrounds and achievements
  • Outreach to colleges to confirm receipt of application materials and advocate for Scholars
  • Matriculation advising and financial planning

Over the past four years, LEDA Scholars have been awarded dozens of prestigious scholarships:

57 Gates Foundation
21 Horatio Alger Association
8 Ron Brown Scholars Program
6 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation

Throughout the entire process, LEDA Scholars continue to rely on their LEDA community for support. Through scheduled LEDA events, LEDA social media pages, and planned meet-ups during college fly-ins, LEDA Scholars are reminded that though they may be unique in their home communities, they are not alone in their journey to college.

Up Next

Our College Success team provides ongoing support to LEDA Scholars throughout their college years.

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