Director of College Counseling & Innovation
Kenneth Woodard joins the Chicago Scholars team as the Director of College Counseling & Innovation. His role on the team is to administer all aspects of the College Counseling curriculum through the selection, training, and support of the College Counselors. He also monitors students’ progress through the counseling program and intervenes, when needed, to ensure that students enroll in a best match university.
Growing up in Chicago, Kenneth had nearly no college counseling, no standardized test prep, and no guidance in regards to college access. He was so underprepared for college that he flunked out after just one year. After getting kicked out of one university, he decided to attend a community college. Hardly any more prepared for the community college than the first college, he eventually dropped out of the community college. And now you’re probably thinking, “what qualifies Kenneth to be Senior Associate of College Access?” At the age of 20, he began to make some significant changes in life which included taking school and life much more seriously.
He enrolled in college for a third time as a sophomore. During that year, he found someone who was much more accomplished than he was and asked him to be mentor. This mentor was an active duty army officer with a wife and kids, and straight A’s attending the same college as Kenneth. Kenneth’s mentor taught him how to study, connect with professors, and prepare for a better future. During this college restart, Kenneth studied every night to improve his grades and to retake both the ACT and the SAT. However, before things got better they got worse and Kenneth become a homeless college student. This predicament lasted for 7 months. Despite the harsh circumstances, he achieved great success academically, became a peer mentor for other students, and eventually got an offer to go to a selective private college, Illinois Wesleyan University.
After transferring to Illinois Wesleyan University, Kenneth received a new scholarship every year up until graduation. He received the Summer Enrichment Program scholarship in his sophomore year and also serve as president of the program. He received the Bright Start scholarship in his junior year for his demonstrated determination as a first generation student. Lastly, he received the Elizabeth Weir scholarship his senior year for excellence in community service during his college years. Outside of success with scholarships, Kenneth was aggressive with taking on internships as a college student. He completed a total of 5 paid internships during college, namely at: Project Rise, the McLean County Urban League, State Farm Insurance, University of Illinois Extensions’ Unity Community Center, and Habitat for Humanity.
Kenneth graduated form Illinois Wesleyan University in 2010 with a Bachelors in Political Science. He went on to serve as an admissions counselor for Illinois Wesleyan University where he had the opportunity to work with Chicago Scholars’ students for 3 three years. More recently, he served as a college counselor and ACT coach for Urban Prep Academy Bronzeville. A consistent theme throughout Kenneth’s professional career has been a passion to make sure all students are afforded the opportunities of college access that he did not receive as a high school student.
Outside of the office, Kenneth is graced to be a husband and father 2 (soon to be 3) beautiful girls. Kenneth is a very early riser and keeps a rigorous mediation and reading schedule that begins at 5 am every day.