College Tour: SUNY Purchase


Students in CWP’s 2.0 program visited SUNY Purchase for a campus tour and meet with CWP student alumna, Kayla Dike, currently a junior in Studio Engineering.

CWP 2.0 is a college and career exposure program. Its mission is to broaden students’ horizons through public art making, networking, college events, and public speaking opportunities.

Students from Bronx Envision Academy, The Young Women’s Leadership School and VIA!, the Virtual Innovators Academy, took a tour of the campus and heard from the admissions team and housing teams, but the highlight of the day was sitting down with Kayla to hear about her experience getting into college, adjusting to life away from home, taking risks and pushing herself in her choice of studies, joining and creating campus clubs – she is currently President of Students of Caribbean Ancestry – and working as a Resident Advisor on campus, mentoring students.

Our students asked questions about college applications, and especially the college admission essay. They wondered if acceptance decisions were based on being the ‘ideal’ student with all the best credentials from grades to extracurricular. Or if their essays would be well received if they were less than an ideal student.

“You don’t have to be the finished product when you get to college”, said Kayla, “It’s about what you’ve learned and are learning. What I learned in high school was to be a leader and use my voice for a lot of different things.”

She went on to name her challenges  and successes, from early speech impediments to writing poetry, from developing her voice and leadership skills to her experiences with public speaking.

Kayla was joined by Nikko Garmendiz, Residence Coordinator at Fort Awesome, who also assured the students that the admissions essay is a chance for them to tell their story, to highlight an obstacle or challenge they were able to overcome in life or in school. A chance to show one’s determination and perseverance.

“It was mind opening and thrilling to experience seeing our students visiting a college,” said Michele Kotler, Founder and Executive Director of CWP, “and hearing all their questions and thoughts.” ” I loved listening,” she continued, “to our alum, Kayla, share how her Community-Word Project experience – learning about leadership, networking and ways to make herself heard – was part of her path to SUNY Purchase. She answered questions about living on campus versus living at home, she spoke about her experience of trying new clubs and taking risks. I loved how she gave tips from the application process to choosing a major. To see our students aptly listening to one of our alums was a beautiful, full circle moment!”

Group of high schools students on a trip to tour a college

Naeema (pictured above, left), with peers from The Young Women’s Leadership School reacted to the visit and working with CWP, saying, “Truly, from the bottom of my heart, CWP has been one of the most admirable and genuine programs that I have participated in. I love working with everyone on their team, and hope to join it one day!” To which we say, Let’s Go!

College student stanind next to a high school student during a mentoring session.
Kayla with student from VIA!, Virtual Innovators Academy.

High school students on a camp tour at SUNY Purchase

And with students of Bronx Envision Academy.

High school students from NYC tour the college campus of SUNY Purchase

Mural on an outside wall on the campus of SUNY Purchase featuring a colorful NYC subway car scene