Paris Woods

A first-generation college student, Paris Woods has built a career out of helping others gain access to higher education. With a background in admissions and first-year advising at Harvard, as well as a New Hampshire boarding school, Woods knows all about helping students adjust to college life. After moving to New Orleans to serve as founding Director of Alumni Support at Cohen College Prep High School, Woods and her team decided to focus on assisting every New Orleans public school graduate get the necessary support to attend college. Thus, the College Beyond program began.

College Beyond is an award-winning program that has already served over 1,000 students with its high school and university partnerships. By helping students navigate college selection, financial aid applications and enrollment, College Beyond encourages high school grads continue to higher education. All counseling and other services from the program are offered to partner students and families free of charge.

By focusing on students from minority, low-income and first-generation-to-college backgrounds, College Beyond is serving populations that may not see higher education as a possibility. According to Woods, accommodating these students is a crucial component of the program.

“We know that personalized and high-quality supports make a difference for students who may be first in their families to go to college. And we believe that every student who earns admission to college deserves the support to succeed once there,” said Woods. Fortunately for these students, College Beyond is there to further the process.

As College Beyond expands to meet the community’s needs, support from partners and philanthropic organizations will continue to be crucial for the program’s continued success. Thankfully, education communities in New Orleans have jumped at the chance to partner with the program. As a startup, College Beyond received backing from 4.0 Schools and Propeller, and the program has also partnered with Tulane’s Cowen Institute, Collegiate Academies, KIPP Through College, College Track and its flagship university partner, the University of New Orleans. At this time, universities and additional supporters interested in furthering College Beyond’s growth are welcome to contact the organization for more information. 

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