Taylor Jones has dreamed of attending Howard University since she was little. Now that dream is about to come true.
Even though no one in her immediate family has attended college, Taylor Jones has always had her sights set on higher education: “I thought college was the way to go to broaden my opportunities in life,” says Taylor, who graduated in June from Ánimo Inglewood Charter High School in Inglewood, CA and will attend Howard University in the Fall.
For Taylor, college has always meant Howard. “It has been my dream school since I was little. Howard is one of the best HBCU’s, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to attend.” Founded in 1867, Howard University is a historically black research university located in Washington, D.C. The university is famous for playing an important role in the Harlem Renaissance and in the American civil rights movement, as well as for notable alumni such as former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and Pulitzer Prize-winner Toni Morrison.
Taylor credits both Ánimo Inglewood and CollegeSpring with helping her reach her dream school. During her junior year of high school, Taylor participated in CollegeSpring’s first academic-year program, which served almost 800 students at Ánimo Inglewood and five other Los Angeles area schools. CollegeSpring played a role in motivating Taylor to work hard in college admissions. Says Taylor, “I was so determined to get a high score on my test, so I would be able to attend the college of my dreams.”
The skills Taylor learned through CollegeSpring will also help her succeed once she arrives on campus in the fall, where she plans to major in biology. “One main skill that I gained from CollegeSpring was studying,” says Taylor. “I never mastered how to study until my SAT prep tutor showed me ways to improve my studying habits.”
Taylor’s CollegeSpring mentor, Madeline Gharabagh, is “beyond thrilled” for Taylor: “Taylor took to the CollegeSpring program very quickly and was extremely enthusiastic. Every week, I saw more and more improvement not only in her SAT skills, but also in her overall dedication and drive to succeed. I enjoy mentoring her, and Howard University is lucky to have her.”
Taylor is looking forward to the experience of being a college student, and is both “excited and anxious” about learning at a historically black college. She plans to join the cheer team and potentially join a sorority as well. Taylor will live on campus, and her housing expenses will be paid through the Merrill Lynch Scholarship, which she won after a competitive application and interview process.
Krystal O’Leary Flores, a Merrill Lynch Scholarship committee member and CollegeSpring’s Director of Program Quality and Training, was impressed by Taylor, saying, “She was incredibly thorough and articulate in explaining why she deserved the funding. She will thrive at Howard.”