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Articles / Admissions / The Posse Foundation

May 19, 2020

The Posse Foundation

What do you think of when you hear the word "posse"? I think of movies about the wild west. "Round up a posse and we'll bring that varmint to justice!" Posses have a generally negative connotation. Check out these formal definitions:

1. A group of people summoned by a sheriff to aid in law enforcement.
2. A search party.
3. A gang involved in crimes such as running guns and illegal narcotics trafficking.
4. Slang A group of friends or associates.
For the purposes of this discussion, however, we'll stick to #4, mainly "a group of friends."
USA Today published an AP wire story about a different kind of posse at Bryn Mawr College. Here's an excerpt:
When Sharhea Wade arrived at Bryn Mawr College from a big-city high school, it seemed as if every other student on the quiet, leafy campus had graduated from an exclusive private school. "I felt intimidated by them," recalled Wade. "Bryn Mawr is a different world."

Yet whenever she felt like a fish out of water, Wade could turn to her "posse" — nine other girls who, like her, had been recruited from struggling Boston-area school districts and sent on full merit scholarship to the elite women's college.


Wade's posse is one of dozens sent to top-tier universities each year by the New York-based Posse Foundation. The combination of monetary and social support is a model that experts say could help move the U.S. toward President Barack Obama's goal of having America lead the world in the percentage of college graduates by 2020. Next fall, the program hits the Ivy League when it debuts at Penn . . .

So, what's the scoop on this Posse Foundation? According to their Web site:

The Posse Foundation identifies public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. Posse's partner colleges and universities award Posse Scholars four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarships. These Scholars graduate at a rate of 90 percent and make a visible difference on campus and throughout their professional careers.

The Posse Foundation could not exist without the support of its partner colleges and universities. These institutions have awarded more than $265 million in leadership scholarships to Posse Scholars across the country.The following is a list of Posse's partner colleges and universities and their recruitment cities.

Posse is one of the most comprehensive and renowned college access and youth leadership development programs in the United States. In fact, President Barack Obama recently said in an interview in The Chronicle of Higher Education , “One of this year's MacArthur awardees—the 'genius' awards—is an innovator named Deborah Bial. She proposed a model to identify promising students from disadvantaged urban backgrounds using an alternative set of qualities as predictors of success in college. …The students that are selected form a 'Posse' and are provided with extra supports, and end up graduating from selective colleges with a very high
success rate."
Posse has sites in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. This fall, we are opening our seventh site in Miami.

So, saddle up and check out what the Posse Foundation can do for you next fall when you ride out on the range of your chosen college campus.

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Don't forget to check out all my admissions-related articles and book reviews at College Confidential.

Written by

Dave Berry

Dave is co-founder of College Confidential and College Karma Consulting, co-author of America's Elite Colleges: The Smart Buyer's Guide to the Ivy League and Other Top Schools, and has over 30 years of experience helping high schoolers gain admission to Ivy League and other ultra-selective schools. He is an expert in the areas application strategies, stats evaluation, college matching, student profile marketing, essays, personality and temperament assessments and web-based admissions counseling. Dave is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University and has won national awards for his writing on higher education issues, marketing campaigns and communications programs. He brings this expertise to the discipline of college admissions and his role as a student advocate. His College Quest newspaper page won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publisher's Association Newspapers in Education Award, the Thomson Newspapers President's Award for Marketing Excellence and the Inland Press Association-University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Mass Communications Inland Innovation Award for the Best New Page. His pioneering journalism program for teenagers, PRO-TEENS, also received national media attention. In addition, Dave won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award for Celebrate Diversity!, a program teaching junior high school students about issues of tolerance. His College Knowledge question-and-answer columns have been published in newspapers throughout the United States. Dave loves Corvettes, classical music, computers, and miniature dachshunds. He and his wife Sharon have a daughter, son and four grandchildren.

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