KIPP Goes to College: The Opportunities that Got Away

Idy Akpan, KIPP NYC alumna and graduate of University of Pennsylvania

Idy Akpan, KIPP NYC alumna and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania

By Zoe Fenson, KIPP Foundation Writer

For the final post in our KIPP Goes to College series (read part 1part 2, and part 3), KIPP alumni, KIPP Through College leaders, and staff from our partner universities talk about the road not taken.


What’s one thing you wish you’d done, or done more of, in college?

“I should raise my hand more in class. Even though there were moments when I prepared until the midnight hour, I somehow lacked the confidence to raise my hand to speak. I always compared my thoughts to what others were saying.  For the next two years this will change because I have something to say.”
Donnell Bailey, KIPP New Orleans alumnus (Franklin & Marshall College)


“I wish I would have taken advantage of the study abroad program. I didn’t understand that financial aid could cover the cost and that I could still work towards my degree completion.”
David Ling, KIPP Through College Director, KIPP Bay Area Schools (UC Berkeley)


“I wish I had spent more time with the organizations on campus that were created for first-generation college students and for students of color. Those are incredible peer-led support systems that have really helped kids feel less isolated and alone.”
Jane Martinez Dowling, Executive Director of KIPP Through College, KIPP NYC Public Charter Schools (Georgetown University)


“I wish I had met with my academic advisors more extensively. This would’ve prevented me from graduating later than expected.”
Peter Gooden, Director of College Access & Support, KIPP Chicago Public Charter Schools (Morgan State University/City College of New York)


“I wish I would have been honest with myself about what I really wanted to study and who I wanted to be. I took so many courses that didn’t make me happy that my GPA suffered. I found one mentor who suggested I dig deep and find my true passion (people) and take courses related to that. I couldn’t have been happier once I changed majors.”
Justin Clapp, Director of Access and Outreach, Duke University (University of Maryland Baltimore County)


“I wish I developed stronger relationships with my professors because it was difficult figuring out my post-collegiate path. I would have liked a professor to mentor and help me navigate those waters. Luckily, I eventually received that support from KIPP.”
Jay Guzman, KIPP NYC alumnus and Kindergarten teacher, KIPP DC: Grow Academy (University of Delaware)


Learn more about how KIPP supports students on their paths to and through college > 



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