In the whirlwind of decisions facing students as the academic year closes, organizations like Go Beyond Greatness (GBG) are stepping in to assist.

Recent statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics and the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center indicate a concerning drop in college enrollment among Black Americans. The decline can be attributed to several factors, and appears exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial hardships, increased family responsibilities and the shift to online learning have significantly impacted the demographic.

According to the UNCF, 65% of Black college students are independent, balancing full-time work and family responsibilities, while Black unemployment rates soared above 16% during the pandemic, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Additionally, there has been a sharp decline in Black male enrollment, particularly at community colleges, which saw a 21.5% drop in spring 2021, as noted by Best Colleges. The lack of financial resources, increased likelihood of school suspensions and experiences of racial hostility on college campuses further contribute to the declining enrollment rates among Black students.

In response to the challenges, GBG aims to counteract the enrollment decline by offering college and career readiness programs, guiding both students and educators through the complexities of the college application process.

Kimberly Potocki, program manager at GBG, highlights the overwhelming nature of the college application process for many students and families. Their program provides crucial support, from navigating college visits to filling out financial aid forms.

For first-generation college students like Aniya Irizarry, GBG offers invaluable assistance in charting unfamiliar territory. Heading to SUNY Cortland to study criminology, Irizarry emphasized her determination to succeed and serve as a role model for her siblings.

GBG's impact extends beyond graduation, as alumni like Lexi Ford return to give back. Ford credits GBG with paving her path to college and acknowledges the importance of programs like GBG in empowering students.

With support from mentors like Sophie Rhind, program coordinator at GBG, the goal is for students to find relief from the pressures of the college application process and gain confidence in their abilities to navigate their futures.

For schools, colleges, or organizations seeking support in college preparation and career development training, GBG offers assistance through