The Unique Advantages of Scholarship Applications, STEM Enrichment, & Early College

A middle grade girl smiles big and holds a camera

February 28, 2020 – Here’s what we’re reading this week about the issues affecting high-achieving students. Scholarship applications, STEM enrichment, and early college can offer unique advantages to students.

Do you know an academically talented 7th grader? Encourage them to apply for the Cooke Young Scholars Program, a selective pre-college scholarship that offers educational support to exceptionally promising students from across the nation. Cooke Young Scholars receive comprehensive advising and scholarship support from 8th grade until high school graduation. The application deadline is March 23, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. ET.

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Elementary & Secondary Education:

  • PROPEL, an innovative after-school program in Loudoun County Public Schools, provides students with hands-on exposure to STEM. Patricia Herr, PROPEL Coordinator, tells WDVM-TV, “It’s really exciting to see the kids rise to every challenge we give them and it’s exciting to see the kids be excited about the learning.”
  • Education Commission of the States discusses key policies across the U.S. that allow students to explore career pathways from an early age, noting “research suggests that middle school is a time when students can benefit the most from career exploration.”
  • A new study from the American Institutes for Research found that while early college high schools tend to have high costs per student, their return on investment is very high. The Hechinger Report describes how these hybrid schools contribute to college access.


Higher Education:

  • Competitive scholarship application processes can benefit students, writes The Chronicle of Higher Education. Applying compels students to focus in on their goals and values, and allow them to practice communicating these ambitions.
  • In Real Clear Education, Jim McCorkell of College Possible discusses how students with limited financial resources are often shut out of valuable educational opportunities like studying abroad or unpaid internships.


Cooke Foundation Highlights:

  • Cooke Scholar Brendan Terry is one step closer to becoming “a physician-scientist whose research works to understand—and then reverse—biochemical processes that translate adverse life circumstances into poor long-term health.” Pomona College highlights how Brendan will continue working on his goal with a Gates Cambridge Scholarship.
  • Cooke Transfer Scholar Semifinalist Cassie Turner shares her story with Georgia State University’s Perimeter College. Carlie Anderson and Johan Rodriguez-Soto, both semifinalists at the University of North Georgia, describe how starting at a community college allowed them to explore their higher education prospects.


Social Media Spotlight:



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@thejkcf Scholars thriving at Occidental, USC, UCLA, UC Riverside, Pomona, and Claremont! #jkcf #thrivetogether #thrivinginsocal

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Photo header: At Welcome Weekend, Cooke Young Scholars meet fellow scholars for the first time — and occasionally test out our photographer’s equipment.