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It's college application season, and that means that College Visions students need your help! CV 12th graders are working hard on their college applications. Now that application deadlines are right around the corner, we will open the CV office* to host weekend application parties.

Can you help by volunteering? As a volunteer, you will work closely with students, editing their college essays, polishing their resumes, and reviewing their applications!

The College Visions office will open for weekend application parties on the following days:

Saturday, December 5th, 10:30am-3:00pm

Sunday, December 6th, 10:30am-3:00pm

Saturday, December 12th, 11:00am-3:00pm

Sunday, December 13th, 11:00am-3:00pm

You don't need previous experience to be a big help to CV students. Just bring your enthusiasm, and we will provide a brief training at the beginning of each session. It's going to be a busy, but fun, set of weekends! If you’d like to volunteer for one or more days, please click here or email Gleyribel at gleyribel@collegevisions.org. And thank you!

*The College Visions office is located at 131 Washington Street, Suite 205, Providence, RI 02903. You can also reach us at (401) 490-3996.

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"Candido Moya joined forces with College Visions during his senior year, working through the application and financial aid process to select Brandeis University, which has provided a full scholarship for his course of study. 'I learned how to advocate for myself,” says Moya, who is now sharing his experience of applying to and seeking robust financial support for college with younger friends and relatives.'"

Click here to read more of the College Visions story in Jill Davidson's column "An Academic Vision for the Future," featured in the East Side Monthly.

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Big thanks to the hardworking team at BankRI for sponsoring and packing care packages for every CV college student! Our students love care packages, and we love telling them that we are thinking of them during finals. #TeamCV #YouGotThis

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Thanks to CV's partnership with Southwest Airlines, CV students are able to use Southwest vouchers to visit colleges, and travel to campus if they enroll at an out-of-state college. CV student Angela and her family made the big decision that she would attend Denison University in Ohio, and they were able to choose confidently, knowing that Angela would have travel support from Southwest!

Moving hundreds of miles away from home to go to college is a big deal, especially when you are the first in your family to make that choice. CV wants all of our students to have choices and to choose schools that have high graduation rates, generous financial aid, strong social supports, and that just feel right. Sometimes all of these qualities come together in an out-of-state school. But the cost of travel can be a big barrier. Thanks to the generous support of Southwest Airlines, Angela was able to choose Denison University!

And now Angela is enjoying her first semester of college: “When My advisor Raul from College Visions, told me the news that I was getting a free ticket to go to Denison. I was so excited because Southwest was helping my parents and I save a lot of money that we did not have. I am extremely grateful for their generosity. I am very glad that Southwest is helping a lot of first generation college students like me, get to college where they will initiate their college experience and begin their journey of life. Thank you Southwest, I will forever be grateful.”

Angela, Denison University Class of 2020

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Supporter Spotlight with Jill Simonson from Southwest Airlines

As College Visions College Success Program students are back in school here in Rhode Island and around the country, we were lucky to get to chat with Jill Simonson, who is Regional Leader, Community Affairs & Grassroots at Southwest Airlines. Jill shared with us about her life and her work supporting Southwest's charitable mission:

How does supporting college access and success fit into Southwest’s charitable support of local communities?

"We champion causes that matter most in the communities that we serve. Almost instantly when I was introduced to the great work of College Visions in Providence, I knew that the organization was working toward a goal much bigger than itself – to encourage, educate and motivate young people so that they can realize their potential through the opportunity of higher ed. For Southwest, it’s about connecting people to what’s important in their lives and College Visions does this every day."

Where did you go to college and how did you get involved in corporate philanthropy? I graduated from Syracuse! I went to its S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and studied Advertising, although I never worked in that field directly. Corporate philanthropy has been in my orbit for many years – dating back to when I spent a large part of my career working for a non-profit in New York, which lead me to my awesome job at Southwest Airlines working on our community affairs efforts throughout the Northeast.

What do you do when you aren’t working?

Believe it or not, I travel even more! My job does take me on the road a good deal of time but it’s wonderful when my husband and I both have the time to venture out and see parts of the world we have yet to experience. I also am a huge fan of theater and with Broadway being in my backyard, I go to shows as much as possible.

Why does Southwest chose to support College Visions? The organization’s impact on young people and their families is undeniable. We are proud to play a small role in making travel possible for select students and in doing so, if even one student sees how much we care, we know we have a Southwest fan for life!

Huge thanks to Jill and to Southwest Airlines for supporting Rhode Island's low-income, first-generation college students to achieve their dreams!

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It's college visit season, and CV students are on the move. Visits are an essential part of the process of choosing a college. They help students get a feel for different schools and decide whether a college is a "good fit." Each fall CV offers day trips to local colleges including Bentley University, Brandeis University, College of the Holy Cross, Mount Holyoke College, Rhode Island College, Smith College, and the University of Rhode Island. We also travel to schools that are farther afield. This fall, two CV advisors and 13 CV 12th graders pilled into a van and traveled to Pennsylvania to visit Gettysburg College, Muhlenberg College, and Dickinson College.

Here's what CV students had to say:

"This trip has taught me to actually spend the time, if I can, to visit the colleges I'm interested in because I feel that any school can amaze you on paper and on the internet but you really get to feel the vibes of the school one you're on the campus."

"It was nice getting to sleepover at a college for the first time. I got to see how students actually study and live on campus."

"Before attending the PA College Tour I used to think that I wanted to study in a big university, but now I know that I prefer a small or medium size campus and that it is not about the size, but there are other important factors to consider while choosing a college. I learned that college is not just about the academics, but also about the clubs, the sports, the people and giving back to the community. Colleges don’t look only at bright students, but bright students that can work under pressure and are willing to make a change."

"The trip was great because I had never considered going to college in Pennsylvania. Now it is an actual possibility. Also seeing successful students in their school environment really helped to motivate me."

CV 12th graders, like students everywhere, still have a lot of work to do. In the coming months they will be submitting applications, attending interviews, and completing financial aid forms. All this is possible with the support of friends like you, and we thank you!
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Huge thank you to everyone who ran, strolled, and walked in honor of former CV board member and friend Kolajo. 5K for Kolajo donors raised more than $9,000 (including a $2,000 CV board match) to support students in the Kolajo Paul Afolabi College Success Program!

5K for Kolajo help supporters ensure that CV students make it all the way through college to graduation, and graduate at more than 5 times the national rate for first-gen, low-income students!

Kolajo love from around the world:


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Will you help CV high school seniors prepare for their college interviews? We're looking for volunteers to serve as mock interviewers at CV's Interview Prep Day. We'll provide snacks and training at the beginning of the day, and then you'll interview CV students and give constructive feedback to improve their interview skills. It's a great way to work directly with CV students and make an impact on their path to college. Wanting to serve more students, CV has accepted 80 students this year, which is a big increase from last year. With more students to serve, we will be holding two Interview Prep Day sessions. Please indicate which session you can attend, and if you can come to both, please note that as well.

The event will take place:

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Session 1: 10:00am - 12:00pm

Session 2: 1:00pm -3:00pm

College Visions, 131 Washington Street, Suite 205, Providence, RI 02903 * Please plan accordingly to find parking SIGN UP HERE: bit.ly/CVIPD15 Please enter your contact information and we will follow up to confirm your participation. Feel free to contact Gleyribel Rodriguez at gleyribel@collegevisions.org with any questions.

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Run with us to honor Kolajo!


This is the 3rd year we will gather to celebrate Kolajo's life. On Saturday, September 19th, we hope you will honor Kolajo by running, jogging, and walking with us (in person and virtually) to support the first-generation college students served by College Visions.

How to participate: This is a "virtual" 5K, so run or walk wherever you are, whenever you want on September 19th. We encourage you to bring friends and family along and wear your favorite Kolajo-inspired running gear (e.g. booty shorts, knee socks, sweatbands, general fabulousness)!


Click here to learn more and donate.

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Watch College Visions on NBC10!

Click here to watch some amazing CV college graduates!

Special thanks to all the CV supporters, friends, and families who helped our hardworking 2015 grads walk across the stage to accept their diplomas.

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