Backs recent pep talk with matching money for community-based scholarship program

Sen. Williams shares his experiences about applying to and surviving at college with high school students from across the 8th District at a college prep workshop as facilitator Alice Hollingshed looks on.

PHILADELPHIA, March 28 – Getting into college requires more than good grades, or even ready tuition. It also means knowing the right forms to fill out and impression to leave, be it on recruiters or teachers writing recommendation letters.

Those were among the points state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams offered to high school students during a candid 45-minute conversation at an inaugural college prep course held at the Church of Christian Compassion CDC last Saturday.

While strong academics may help open the door, poor body language and presentation skills could slam it shut before you even get started, said Williams, a Franklin & Marshall College graduate.

“Having someone pat you on your back and say you’re smart is nice, but getting prepared for the process of competing is what you’re doing here today,” Williams said. “If I can do anything at all, I’m here, as a person who went to college, to tell you the harsh reality. Getting in to college today is about competition. It’s all about selling yourself as someone they want to invest in, that they want to have on their campus.

“And sitting, slouched in a chair, looking like you’re ready to go, looking like you don’t care, that you’re not engaged, is not the kind of impression that will help you when you get into those interview rooms,” he added. “You’re trying to get accepted. You want to open up. Smile on occasion. You have to give something to get something.”

And attendees, who came from across the 8th Senatorial District, from South Philadelphia to Colwyn, started giving their attention as he detailed his road to college and the bumps along the way.

“The Road Ahead” workshop was sponsored by the Creek Future Scholar Award Committee, a West Philadelphia-based community organization, and the Church of Christian Compassion. Students received mechanics on filling out applications, writing entrance essays and interview coaching. They also learned more about $500 scholarships awarded by the Creek to seniors who have been accepted into college.

While the Creek has offered scholarship assistance for years, its members decided to add this component to better aid students seeking to transition from high school to college successfully.

Williams pledged to match the awards this year for the eligible seniors who were present.

The scholarship program and its organizers are a testament to what communities can do when they put their energies into productive activities, he said.

“The Creek was a neighborhood gang when I grew up,” Williams said. “Now they’re older, and more mature, and one of the few organizations that do more than hold reunions. They actually run programs to benefit people.

“It’s an example of not just redemption, but also to commitment to the things that matter, helping to create a better world for our next generation.”

To apply, graduating seniors must have a 2.5 GPA or higher, an acceptance letter from their chosen college or university, a sealed high school transcript, proof of Pennsylvania residency, a sealed reference letter and a 500-word typed essay detailing their talents and how those will aid in achieving success in college. Deadline for completed applications is July 10.

For applications and details, email or

More information on Sen. Anthony H. Williams may be found on his website, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.