Each year marks the inception of a new journey for high school students worldwide. As the mounting pressures of societal norms weigh heavy on their minds, they’re forced to face the realities of life after high school and the dawn of adult life.
Naturally, one the most common dilemmas faced during these times finds itself centered around post-secondary education. The questions of what school to go to, how to pay for it, what to major in, and where to live will undoubtedly present themselves during the process.
However, two young ladies have stepped up to the plate to combine their experiences along with those of others in order to answer the most important question of all: “How do I get in?”
Authors Kielah Harbert’s and Wilglory Tanjong’s college guide #Admitted serves as a comprehensive guide, catering to high school students who are committed to making the right decisions and playing their cards right when it comes to the college admissions process and would otherwise lack the proper resources to do so.
“The idea of going to college is stressful enough”, says Tanjong. “So being able to refer to a guide that makes the process easier and worry-free allows students to focus on the other obligations that come along with college life.”
We had the chance to pick one-half of the brain that cultivated #Admitted as Harbert discussed the details of her own journey and the role it played in the book’s creation.
The Source: What individual experiences did you guys go through that inspired you two to come together to write this book?
Kielah Harbert: Throughout high school I personally struggled as an independent student. I bounced around from house to house and had to take care of myself. But, my struggle was not unique. There were many children in the school district that had similar struggles as mine or even worse. However, I still valued education and I enjoyed school.
I knew I wanted to get into college and I knew some of the steps it would take for me to get there. My junior year of high school I applied to a college access/readiness program at Princeton University. When I attended the program, I was exposed to many of the resources that were previously inaccessible to me. I was given advice and guidance on the college selection process and help on the ACT to help me get better scores. I walked away from the program more prepared to apply to colleges and more aware of what is was that colleges wanted from applicants.
I decided that writing something that could help other students who did not have the luxury of attending such programs was a must. So I called Wilglory and we started discussing “The Guide.”
What are your favorite parts—the highlights of #Admitted that you feel encapsulate the gist of the message that you want readers to grasp?
My favorite parts of #Admitted are the personal narratives. Students can relate to people who are similar to them and people who have shared experiences as them. I think it allows them to really digest the important materials in the book while forming a deeper understanding of why doing well in high school is important.
What is it that you hope to do once you’ve finished school? How has this experience prepared you for that path?
My hope is to continue opening doors for those who are systematically oppressed. I want to use the privileges and resources I have had to find ways to break down the barriers that hinder people from succeeding and creating the best lives for themselves possible.
Besides #Admitted, what other initiatives do you both hope to employ to help other students?
I am the founder of the Black Empowerment Program, a program dedicated to empowering youth in the Saint Louis area. Our goals are to encourage students to start thinking about college at an earlier age, debunk the myths surrounding college in the black community and assist in the transformation of such communities through advocacy, education, and activism.
What tips do you have for parents and mentors?
I want parents and mentors to spend a little more time each day educating themselves on topics related to the success of their children whether that means finding out ways to learn more about college, career readiness or even child rearing. I want parents and mentors alike to find ways to be better support systems and advocates for their children.
Talk about your mentors—what qualities did they have that surely helped propelled you towards a path to success?
My mentors were always there for me. If I called them I knew they would pick up the phone. They were not upset or disturbed by my needs as a student. I felt as if they enjoyed being there for me and were personally invested in my success.
What plans do you have for the future as it relates to your activism and #Admitted?
I plan on finding more ways to educate and empower others. I want to hopefully start my own business that is centered on the revitalization of the black community.
Keep Up with the #Admitted Guide: