Return Service Trip to West Virginia

Event Start Date: 
July 23, 2014
Trip Location: 
Charleston, West Virginia


Here is your chance to join other Yale alumni as we once again provide college counseling and writing coaching for high achieving low-income local high school students in West Virginia. These students live in an area that was formerly a strong mining community but has been depleted of jobs and opportunities for many years. Most of the students will be the first generation in their families to consider college and we have the opportunity to help them achieve their greatest potential for the future!! Last summer, 40 Yale Service Corps volunteers found the experience life-changing for them as well.

College Summit sessions

Icebreaker between volunteer coaches and students

College Summit has established relationships with local high schools in underserved areas of the United States to provide coaching and mentoring for students with the goal of increased enrollment rates at institutions of higher education.College Summit has been operating in West Virginia since 2001. Since then they have touched the lives of over eight thousand students from twenty seven high schools and raised the college enrollment rate by more than 20 percent.While working in a college setting, College Summit provides both college counseling and coaching in writing college essays along with workshops that foster student-leaders.

Coal transport train

 River used for coal barges & power

Program Description

Our time in West Virginia will start with a Welcome Dinner in Charleston where we will stay for the first night. This will be followed the next morning by an orientation to better understand the students. backgrounds and some of the challenges that they face. We will learn about the environment of West Virginia and socio-economic factors that impact the student’s communities and their family life. We then will be treated to a special lunch on the campus of the State University of West Virginia. 

In the afternoon the YASC group will participate in an intense training program with the College Summit workshop managers to learn about the program. After training, the group will have dinner at the college with introductions and the most important part - meeting the students. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we will be working with small groups of students as writing coaches and college counselors using the highly structured curriculum provided by College Summit. On Saturday evening there will be a celebratory dinner and dance for both mentors and students.

Communities near Huntington & Montgomery

 Homes in the area

Site for YASC- West Virginia College Summit 2014

West Virginia State University, founded in 1891, is a public, land-grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution. The undergraduate education at the University offers comprehensive baccalaureate and associate degree programs in business, liberal arts, professional studies, sciences, and social sciences. In addition, the University provides opportunities for graduate education. 

Each volunteer will be assigned a dorm-room with a shared bathroom. The YASC volunteers eat meals with the students in the school’s cafeteria and have access to the university’s gym but just like the students, we will stay on campus for the entire four day session - so be prepared!

West Virginia State University

 Aerial view of WVSU Campus

Seeking 5 College Counselors and 15 College Writing Coaches

We will be looking for 5 volunteers with some prior experience in college counseling and 15 writing coaches who do not need any specific experience but will be given extensive training before the session.The College Summit Program for writing coaches is highly structuredand participants will be following a detailed curriculum with detailed daily lesson plans. While volunteers are encouraged to share their ideas at the sessions, the lesson plans are based on a highly effective model developed over time, which works best when carefully followed. 

Each volunteer will be assigned a small group of students. We will be striving to empower these students to understand the force of their own stories and words, celebrate hard work and achieve pride in their own accomplishments. The students will be given exercises that help foster self-awareness of their strengths, skills and how to transform their backgrounds into a strong college essay for their applications. But it is the mentoring and personal connection that is the most important part of this program! Our participation is key to setting the stage for the mentoring and personal connection on the part of College Summit which continues for each student throughout their senior year.
Please Join Us!


$500 per person (excludes airfare and transport)
Cost includes: 
  • Accommodations for the first night in a double room in a hotel 
  • Accommodations for 3 nights in dormitory with a shared washroom 
  • All meals 
  • Local transportation throughout the program 
  • All tools and materials needed for the project 
  • Local community tour and visit
Cost does not include: 

 Airfare to/from West Virginia; travel or baggage insurance; other personal and incidental expenses.

Program Overview: 

20 volunteers: 5 college counselors & 15 writing coaches

Qualifications for College Counselors: 
  • Have at least one year prior experience in college coaching (i.e. high school counselor, college admissions officer, private college counselor, college requirement advisor, non-profit college guidance assistance)
  • Be comfortable/have familiarity with advising mid-tier students from under-resourced communities
  • Have the ability to run a one hour coaching session with each student assigned to you and be able to compile a list of collegiate options for each student
  • Be comfortable/have familiarity with emotionally intense situations and disclosures
  • Have the ability to be both encouraging and honest with the students
  • A healthy knowledge of local and national colleges and universities (local knowledge will be supplemented)
  • A healthy knowledge of college admissions requirements
Qualifications for Writing Coaches: 
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Good communication and active listening skills
  • Experience and/or willingness to work with diverse populations
  • Desire to make a difference
  • Flexibility
  • Ability to work in an emotionally intense and rewarding environment
Additional Information: 

Volunteer Now! 
To apply, click here. Once your application is received, you will be contacted by telephone with additional information. Further, once your application is accepted, you will need to register as a volunteer online directly with College Summit, which includes agreeing to a background check.

Questions? Please Contact:
Joao Aleixo
Association of Yale Alumni
Tel: 203-432-1943

Barbara or Bill Dahl
Co-Producers. YASC