Heights Graduation Celebration Honored 500+ Students 

Heights Philadelphia and Penn Admissions Launch Free Online Course “Applying to College 101”

Empowering learners of all backgrounds with information and tools to navigate the college search, selection, financial aid, and application process 

Heights Philadelphia (“Heights”) and University of Pennsylvania Admissions Office (“Penn Admissions”) together have launched a free online course available to all students and families titled, “Applying to College 101.” Combining the expertise of Penn’s admissions office with Heights’ college and career results, especially focused on Black, Brown, and first-generation students, this new course guides students and families of all backgrounds through the college admissions process. Available for registration through the online learning resource Coursera, Applying to College 101 takes a comprehensive, multi-channel approach to prepare learners for the upcoming college search, application, and selection process. To be completed at the learner’s own pace and schedule, the course includes five modules containing short videos, practice exercises, readings, forums, and quizzes to encourage self-reflection, information sharing and moments of connection. By completing five weeks or approximately 15 hours of lessons, learners will be prepared to take on the college process. 

“College admissions can leave students feeling confused or anxious, especially those who might be approaching the college search process without a lot of external guidance or support,” said Whitney Soule, Vice Provost and Dean of Admissions at the University of Pennsylvania. “With the benefit of specialized course designers in Penn’s Online Learning Initiative, and the collaboration of Penn Admissions and Heights, this course can work well for students and families at the beginning of high school all the way to the point of preparing college applications.” 

“The launch of this course comes at a critical time for many students and families following the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on Affirmative Action,” said Sara L. Woods, Esq., Co-President & CEO, Heights. “We want to be clear to students and families that you matter – and you belong on a college campus. With this course, there are resources available to help get you where you want to be.” 

“We have been honored to collaborate with Penn Admissions over the past two years to make this course possible,” said Sean E. Vereen, Ed.D., Co-President & CEO, Heights. “For so many students and families, applying to college can be a mystery, leaving so many overwhelmed and unaware of where to start. We hope students and families use this course to get ready for the process and feel confident that they will reach college success.” 

Heights and Penn have a long-standing relationship, most recently collaborating to host its 2022 & 2023 Equity Summit welcoming high school students across the School District of Philadelphia for a day-long summit aimed to help students overcome racial barriers and nurture inclusive, equitable environments. Penn’s Wharton Global Youth Program has also worked with Heights to offer students pathways to college and business education. This new free online course through Penn Admissions is the latest in Penn-Heights’ collaborations to lead students towards college and career success.  

Designed for 11th and 12th grade students planning to apply for college, the course Syllabus includes five modules, each taking two to four hours to complete:  

  • Model 1: You’re Applying to College! Where to Begin and Getting Organized 
  • Model 2: All About Financial Aid and Affording College 
  • Model 3: Why Your Stories Matter and Identifying Your College Goals 
  • Model 4: Researching College Options and Finding Your Best Fit 
  • Model 5: Preparing Your Application Materials 

By the completion of the course, learners will understand: the organization skills needed to be successful in the college process; important financial aid resources that can help make college affordable; a college applicant’s personal story and how it can connect with what colleges are looking for; how to find the right college fit; and the steps and materials needed to complete your college application once ready. 

The asynchronous, self-directed course is open to the public, and best intended for students who are applying to college for the first time with the intention of pursuing undergraduate degrees at a four-year institution in the United States. The course is also a tool for students who may not have access to college counselors to guide students along the way. While the course is offered by Penn Admissions, it is not a course focused on applying to Penn. 

For more information or to register for the free, online course “Applying to College 101” please visit: https://www.coursera.org/learn/applying-to-college-101