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The Student-Run News Site of Carnegie Vanguard High School

Upstream News

The Student-Run News Site of Carnegie Vanguard High School

Upstream News

Kofi Asare and his path to becoming a Posse Scholar

Kofi Asare
Senior Kofi Asare’s headshot taken at a LOT (Leaders of Tomorrow) event sponsored by the National Black MBA Association

“One slider please.” Senior Kofi Asare placed his usual order at Dave’s Hot Chicken and proceeded to sit down, thinking about the scrumptious meal he was about to have. RIIIING! Suddenly, Asare’s phone rang, and he was presented with life-changing news: he was officially a Posse Scholar with a full-tuition scholarship to Vanderbilt University. 

Asare initially found out about the program from school counselor Mr. Frau, who informed students about the program during the second semester of their junior year. However, as Asare explained, it was not an immediate decision.

“At first, I was like, it’s a great program,” said Asare. “However, I wasn’t sure that I would want to commit to any particular school, so I had it as one of my backup options. Finally, I decided to apply during the summer as I thought it would be a great opportunity to get full tuition and commit to a school.”

It soon came time to decide on a school, as Posse asks each applicant to rank the college and university that they wished to attend. Out of the colleges that Posse is partnered with, Asare ultimately chose Vanderbilt University as his top preference.

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“I decided to commit to Vanderbilt because they had a pretty good engineering program and because I liked that its location is pretty similar to Houston,” said Asare. “Furthermore, I liked the idea of attending a private institution with a smaller class size, as it would allow me to better know my professors. The engineering program paired with the small class sold it for me.”

However, he soon had to face Posse’s Dynamic Assessment Process (DAP), an extensive 5-month application process that consists of three stages and numerous essays. Posse uses the process to identify students with unique leadership and teamwork abilities, with selected students being matched to partner colleges and universities. 

“In the first stage, I was with 100 other students, and we were all put into groups and asked a series of questions. We were evaluated based on our teamwork, and it was essential to your voice out there while being yourself,” Asare said.

Asare then became a semifinalist and entered the second stage of the DAP, which consists of an interview that evaluates the applicant’s personality and leadership experience. In this stage, students virtually meet with 1-2 Posse staff who ask them questions regarding their high school experiences, much like a typical college interview. 

“In the second interview, you’re matched with one to two Posse staff who ask questions about your academic career and extracurriculars. They ask about your hobbies and interests outside of school, and they also ask about your family life. In this interview, it was important to be articulate and openly converse about your experiences,” Asare advised.

Asare made it to the final stage, and it soon dawned on him: he was a Posse finalist. He was one step closer to achieving a full-ride scholarship, but it would all count on his performance in this third and final stage. 

“In the third interview, I was paired with other Houston students who were matched with Vanderbilt, similar to the group setting of the first interview. They [Posse staff] asked us to speak our minds on prompts such as ‘How did you overcome challenges in life’, and we got about two minutes to answer each question. They’d also test our group’s problem-solving skills by presenting scenarios such as ‘What would you do if you caught a group of students drinking at your college’s campus?’.

It was through these types of questions that Posse evaluated Asare’s communication and ability to work with a team, with Asare ultimately becoming a Posse Scholar in December. However, Asare’s journey to becoming a Scholar wasn’t exactly straightforward, as his outlook has greatly changed since freshman year. 

“I’m much more ambitious and determined now than in my freshman year. While that comes with time, I also feel like it comes with who you surround yourself with, and I credit my friends at Carnegie as they make me strive to aim higher.”

CVHS Seniors Kofi Asare and Enikubahiry Bekele posing with the jerseys of their matched schools. Through Posse, they were matched with Vanderbilt and Texas A&M respectively (Kofi Asare)

With his mindset, it was no surprise that Asare kept pushing himself in his extracurriculars and high school activities. Whether it was being involved in the National Black MBA Program, working at the YMCA, or being a Boy Scout, Asare kept expanding his horizons throughout high school. 

“I feel like the most beneficial activity I did outside of school was the Leaders of Tomorrow (LOT) program, which was sponsored by the National Black MBA Association. Through this program, I was involved in case study competitions with a few other students throughout Houston, and we competed in events at the local and national levels. Whether it was being involved in LOT or working at the YMCA, I tried to gain leadership skills and real-world experiences in whatever I pursued,” Asare said.

Asare’s time at Carnegie greatly shaped him as well. In addition to his rock-solid friend group, Asare took challenging classes that he felt would prepare him for the future. 

“I took important classes such as AP Physics, AP Calculus, and AP Chemistry which really helped me. Specifically, the titration lab that I worked on in AP Chemistry showed me how to use critical thinking skills to solve problems, and it was those types of experiences that ultimately influenced my decision to pursue a degree in chemical engineering,” said Asare.

“Specifically, the titration lab that I worked on in AP Chemistry showed me how to use critical thinking skills to solve problems, and it was those types of experiences that ultimately influenced my decision to pursue a degree in chemical engineering.”

— Kofi Asare

Ultimately, Asare hopes that his story inspires other Carnegie students to challenge themselves and explore their interests.

“One thing that I learned throughout the application process and my time at Carnegie was the importance of being yourself. I didn’t always have the strongest grades in my freshman and sophomore years, but I was able to prove to the interviewers that I’m a person who is determined and dedicated to improving myself. But most importantly, give it your all, and don’t forget who you are.”

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About the Contributor
Siddharth Dasari
Siddharth Dasari, Staff Writer
Siddharth Dasari is a junior at CVHS. An aspiring diplomat, he is fascinated in learning about the world around him and meeting various global leaders through the World Affairs Club. In addition to his interest in international relations, he also loves to run, bike, and travel. Siddharth is excited to write about his community and provide a fresh perspective to Upstream News.
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    HubertFeb 22, 2024 at 12:02 pm

    King ASARE does it again!