Area colleges offer admission and financial aid workshops aimed at city students

Recognizing the counselor shortage in Philadelphia’s public schools, St. Joseph’s University on Saturday will hold a college readiness workshop for students on its campus. It’s the same day that the University of Pennsylvania is holding a similar workshop, which I wrote about in a previous blog post.

Also worth noting, the Community College of Philadelphia this week is kicking off a series of open houses to help students with the application and financial aid process. The first is tonight at 6 p.m. at the Northeast Regional Center, 12901 Townsend Road. Others are scheduled for: Wednesday, 6 p.m., at the Northwest Regional Center, 1300 W. Godfrey Avenue; Thursday, 6 p.m., on the Main Campus at 1700 Spring Garden Street, Pavilion building; Welcome Center, Room P1-05; and Saturday at noon at the West Regional Center, 4725 Chestnut Street.

Those interested in attending the community college sessions, should register at

The program at St. Joseph’s for high school juniors and seniors and their families will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Cardinal Foley Student Center on the university’s Maguire Campus. The program, which will cover the applications timeline, financial aid, loans and other admissions aspects, is targeted at students who may be the first gemeration in their family to apply to college.

“At a time when many public school systems are struggling to maintain staffing in their guidance counseling offices, we thought it would be particularly timely to offer our professional expertise and support to students and their families,” Assistant Provost Maureen Mathis said in a prepared statement.

The college has reached out to students in Philadelphia and Delaware County, Camden and Burlington counties in New Jersey and Wilmington, Del. through printed invitations, email blasts and in-person meetings and outreach to community organizations and other groups.

To register, go to

And here’s my previous blog post on Penn’s program scheduled for this Satuirday.

Short on school counselor guidance due to budget cuts, Philadelphia public school students can learn about the college application process and financial aid from the University of Pennsylvania at a day-long program on Saturday, Oct. 26.

Called “Ivy in Your Backyard,” the program will run from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Irvine Auditorium, 3401 Spruce St., and offer students guidance on the college search process, including writing support.

“We feel this event ... is even more critical given the cuts in the Philadelphia school system, as Penn can serve as a local resource to families,” said Eric Furda, dean of admissions at the Ivy League university. “As an example, the writing circles will be run by students/faculty of Kelly Writers House to help students think about their college essays. Student Financial Services (SFS) will walk through the completion of financial aid forms.

“Of course we are also highlighting Penn as the 'Ivy in Your Backyard', but this is primarily a counseling opportunity to help local students and families to apply to and attend college.”

Also for the first time, all of Penn’s 25 admission officers, who have responsibility for jurisdictions all over the country and the world, have been asked to help in Philadelphia as well, Furda said. Penn enrolls 130 students a year from Philadelphia for a freshman class of 2,420, Furda said.

“We want all of our admissions officers to have a sense of the students in their backyard,” he said.

Furda last week visited Central High School, one of the school district’s top magnet schools which sends a good number of students onto Penn. He met with the counselor, students and the principal.

“Even in one of the more supported schools, the cuts to college advisors and other services will no doubt have an impact,” Furda said. “The students, however, are working hard and focusing on the next step in their education. They are an inspiration.”

Next week, he will visit Masterman, another top academic magnet school, which is down to one counselor for its 1,200 students.

While Penn routinely holds programs to help students with the applications process, this event has been beefed up in light of the budget crisis in the district, he said.

“Because of the drastic measures, we felt this event was going to be more important,” he said.

The program is open to up to 400 students. To register, go to: