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Launch! 2021: Celebrating College Possible Minnesota High School Students

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Launch! celebrates College Possible high school juniors and seniors as they progress along their college journey. This year, Launch! moved to a virtual platform and kicked off summer by connecting more than 400 juniors and seniors across Minnesota over two evenings in May.

Launch! events are guided by four pillars; to inspire, equip, celebrate and have fun. This year, events were also held and hosted by grade level to ensure content was tailored to the student experience for juniors and seniors.

Junior Launch!

The junior Launch! celebration kicked off May 26 with student prizes and a video featuring and put together by their AmeriCorps coaches.

One of the highlights of the evening were breakout rooms, where juniors could engage with current College Possible seniors and college students. Juniors joined first with the graduates, where they heard about senior year from a student who had just experienced it: what had worked well, what they wished they would have done, and how their College Possible coach helped them every step of the way.

The final breakout rooms featured panels made of current college students from a variety of institutions. This allowed juniors to hear about life on a small campus versus a large one, living in the city versus in a rural area, etc., in order to get a better understanding of college fit.

Both breakout sessions were extremely valuable for students, providing them with the opportunity to hear from folks who have been in their shoes and have made the decisions they are starting to make as they transition into their senior year!

Just seeing how many people are a part of College Possible, it made me feel like I’m part of a powerful community.” – Student reflecting on junior Launch! 2021

Senior Launch!

Senior Launch!, held the evening of May 27, was a celebration of all of the work College Possible Minnesota students put in to complete their high school career. This year was especially notable in light of navigating a global pandemic and a racial reckoning taking place in our backyard.

Coaches created an awesome lip sync video recognizing the resilience of their students and prize winners were announced. Students heard from summer transition coaches, as well as current college coaches, about expectations going into the college program, as well as advice for summer planning and success in college.

By providing key program information at Launch!, students are able to head into summer and fall with a clear roadmap and understanding what to expect from College Possible over the next year.

One of the most impactful parts of Launch! was the opportunity for seniors to meet future classmates in breakout rooms throughout the event. Students were able to meet other seniors who may be attending the same college, as well as hear from current college student panelists at that institution or a similar one.

My favorite part of Launch! 2021 was the student panelists. Even though I’ve looked online for some insight into college, this was a different experience, and I liked that.” –High school senior

Overall, the biggest takeaway from Launch! 2021 were the connections that were made, even though we could not gather in person. From our College Possible coaches, to the generous panelists, to meeting other students in their class, juniors and seniors were able to see the strong community that surrounds them. Students came away from the event with tangible and useful next steps in their college journey, as well as feeling the support they can count on from their College Possible coaches and peers.

Thank you to Abby Fox, Partnerships Manager, for providing reflections for this article.

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