Jessica and Connie Palmer, of Durant, Oklahoma discuss how much the Scholarship Advisement Program has helped them with the college application process.

Ivy League Recruitment for Choctaw Students


Instead of trying to visit a bunch of colleges, which can be difficult logistically and on family budgets, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma’s Scholarship Advisement Program (SAP) will host a two-day college recruitment event featuring more than 35 schools.

Some represented colleges include Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Stanford, Purdue, Duke and Johns Hopkins University; and each college representative comes prepared to discuss their school’s Native American organizations, specialty housing and relevant majors and courses.

“Ivy League & Friends is unique in that it offers an inside look into these colleges, with a Native American lens,” states a press release. “By talking with a college representative as well as attending the representatives’ informational sessions, students can learn whether certain selective colleges are interesting to them, if they offer majors and programs that are particularly intriguing, and find out whether they have the resume and test scores and academic history that it takes to get in.”

The program has helped a number of first-generation college students in the past, including Jamie Ishcomer, who is now pursuing a dual master’s degree in social work and public health at Washington University. “Being the first in my family to graduate from college and pursue a master’s degree I was uncertain of everything from how to research the best programs to how to even apply to graduate school. The Ivy League and Friends event gave me information on everything from tips on searching for programs, where to find scholarships, and how to successfully apply for graduate school.”

The event will be held November 4-5 at the Choctaw Nation Resort & Event Center in Durant, Oklahoma. For more information, including a full list of attending colleges visit the SAP website.

In this video from the 2010 Ivy League & Friends event, see some of the college representatives speaking:

In this video, see what some parents thought about the 2010 event:

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darekhunt's picture
Submitted by darekhunt on
While I am excited about the Scholarship Advisement Program and how it brings the college process to the local area, I do have a concern. I have know for a long time, the hard part of college is not "getting in" but "staying in". Unless something major has happened in the last few weeks, Native American children still have one of the highest high school drop out rates in the country. This is a fact which has continue to plague our people for years. I am a first generation college graduate as well as as the first person in my family to complete my Masters degree. I was able to get into college easy enough, but if was not for a couple of professors who took interest in me, I would have never finished. While I did not grow up on a reservation or live in an area with a high Native American population. I struggled through high school with only the backing on my parents. I have done enough research and written enough papers on Native American education to know the problem doesn't start in high school. By the time Native American students get to high school they are at a cross-road to either continue school or to drop out. The system isn't completely failing at this level, but began to fail much earlier as our children struggle through the U.S. education system. I am not stating that I have all the answers, but change is long over due. There have been tremendous strides in education for African Americans and Latino children and recent statistics show the improvement, but Native Americans continue to trail all groups of minorities in the US. So I thank the Scholarship Advisement Program for reaching out to Native Americans. They already know the benefits of getting Native Americans into their programs, we just need to increase the number of students who will qualify for the opportunity.

beaver's picture
Submitted by beaver on
When Stanford, Yale, Dartmouth, Princeton, Duke, Johns Hopkins and others were invited to our reservations, they gave excuses and declined to come. They always seem eager to go to the five civilized tribes and recruit affluent Indians who are Caucasian-looking. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?