Position: Director of College Prep Programs
Location: Newark, New Jersey
Start Date: August 1, 2019
Cooperman College Scholars is a program that supports academically talented, highly motivated students with financial need from Essex County, New Jersey, in their efforts to attain a four-year college degree. After admitting Scholars to the program in their junior year of high school, CCS provides a scholarship to attend college, pre-college application support, mentoring and other resources to ease the transition to college and support each Scholar’s success through graduation. To date, CCS has supported over 300 Scholars, and in 2020, the first cohort of Cooperman College Scholars will graduate from college.
The Director of College Prep Programs will be responsible for executing all elements of the pre-college Scholar experience. After leading the annual recruitment and selection process, the Director will advise Scholars -- individually and through cohort programming -- regarding the college application process, Financial Aid application and college selection. The Director will be the primary leader and role model for each new cohort of Cooperman Scholars as they enter the program as rising seniors in high school.
The Director will create a culture of high expectations, academic excellence, and exemplary character among all Scholars, and will serve as the primary liaison between Scholars, families and high school partners. In addition, he/she will actively manage Scholar progress and participation and utilize data strategically to drive program enhancements and improve Scholar outcomes.
The Director reports to the Executive Director. He/she will manage the College Access Manager (CAM) and partner with the CAM to complete the responsibilities below.
Duties and Responsibilities
Lead College Advising and Pre-College Supports
- Lead highly-impactful programming to prepare Scholars to apply to, gain admission to, and successfully matriculate to college. Annual events/activities include a 3-week summer academy held on college/university campuses, September Leadership Retreat, SAT Prep Courses and college trips, year-round Purpose Programming and contract signing meetings. The Director is responsible for overseeing all aspects including:
- Developing content, leading facilitation and setting overall tone for events
- Piloting new programming and rigorously evaluating effectiveness and areas for improvement
- Ensuring effective Scholar communication and managing Scholar attendance and engagement
- Managing operations, logistics, guest speakers, and prep for staff and volunteers
- Advising and coordinating college and university partners on all aspects of Summer Academy
- Lead the college coaching and college decision process for cohort of 75-80 Scholars per year.
- Meet with seniors, individually and in groups, to advise and track scholars' progress with the admissions process and college choices
- Advise Scholars on the college admissions process, including supporting scholars to develop college lists, write college application essays, complete financial aid requirements, analyze acceptances and award packages, and to choose a college
- Serve as a financial aid resource, assisting with FAFSA and CSS Profile, supporting Scholars to interface with financial aid representatives, and reviewing financial aid award letters
- Serve as lead contact with college admissions representatives and facilitate meetings with college representatives to advocate for Scholars.
- Ensure CCS Staff who work with Scholars are equipped to managing their college advising caseloads by establishing clear guidelines, timelines and other support tools for college coaching
- Understand and disseminate approaches for matching Scholars to colleges and universities where they will be most successful
- Collect and maintain electronic Scholar files at CCS with all relevant college admission materials, including SAT score reports, financial information and recommendation letters, and enter appropriate information into the CCS database
Oversee and manage Scholar Recruitment and Selection
- Attract high-potential academically talented students with financial need to apply for the program.
- Execute annual recruitment strategy to build a high-quality pool (approx. 300-500 applicants) of high school juniors from across Essex County
- Manage recruitment relationships with 35+ public high schools and non-profits, partnering with CAM to plan and host 30-40 high school-based recruitment presentations annually
- Partner with Director of Operations and CAM to implement external communications strategy
- Provide support to prospective Scholars to initiate and complete the application process
- Strategically and diligently manage recruitment data in Fluid Review database
- Facilitate the annual candidate review process to select 75-80 incoming Scholars.
- Lead process to evaluate and interview applicants, engaging the Selection Committee effectively through the process
- Prepare and facilitate Scholar selection meetings; complete data analysis related to this process
- Recruit volunteers for selection events and interviews
- Manage scholarship applications in student enrollment management system (Fluid Review) and update on an annual basis as needed
- Serve as public face and first point of contact, representing CCS values among applicants, selected Scholars, families and external constituents
Serve as a steward and leader on the CCS team
- Use Scholar data and sector benchmarks fluently to measure effectiveness of pre-college programming and make recommendations for continuous improvement
- Use effective, executive-level communication to report progress and lessons learned to CCS Donor, Advisory Board, and other constituents
- Work with the CCS Leadership Team to select ideal college and university partnerships
- Act as leader and role model for positive team and Scholar culture
- Bachelor’s degree required, Masters degree preferred.
- At least five years of relevant experience in college counseling, education, and/or successfully administering programs that support high school and college students
- A strong sense of urgency and passion for supporting under-represented students as they enroll in and complete college
- Strong ability to coach, motivate, and inspire young people to achieve ambitious goals
- Ability to work cooperatively and effectively to develop key partnerships with faculty, staff, and students throughout the college campus community and with parents, families, school administrators or other community partners
- Demonstrated record of conducting assessment, and/or evaluations of programs, students, and staff
- Advanced understanding of financial aid including FAFSA and CSS Profile; knowledge of NJ State Opportunity Programs is a plus
- Excellent written and oral communication skills
- Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work successfully with diverse partners
- Demonstrated ability to think critically and strategically
- Demonstrated ability to create and manage budgets
- Demonstrated ability to build systems and work in a fast-paced start-up environment.
- Excellent organization, time management, problem-solving, and follow-up skills.
- Strong attention to detail, as demonstrated through previous record of error-free execution
- Able to travel throughout Essex County, New Jersey to host recruiting events on a weekly basis during the recruiting season
Cooperman College Scholars is a program overseen by Together Education. Together Education offers a competitive salary and benefits package for full-time employees.