Each year, the college admissions process is more competitive, and the cost of a college education continues to increase. The education of U.S. students has been identified as a national priority by President Obama. The future success of our national economy is contingent upon more U.S. students pursuing and obtaining college degrees. No greater area is this felt than in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). U.S. students underperform in math and science; however, the domestic workforce in desperate need of more domestic graduates in the pipeline.

The Obama administration believes that students must not only receive a competitive K-12 education, but also be prepared for and have access to a college education. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has invested heavily in preparing students to be competitive from the “cradle to career.” In addition, the “Educate to Innovate” campaign is focused on improving student participation and performance in STEM.

It is important that parents play an active role in the transition from secondary to post-secondary education. This includes preparing students for college admissions activities, beginning as early as their freshman year of high school. Many parents either don’t know or remember what is required to best prepare their student for college, and more importantly, the college admissions process. As a result, they rely on the student, as well as guidance counselors, teachers, and other school administrators to assist the student.

Prepped for Success: What Every Parent Should Know about the College Application Process is a resource for any parent of a high school freshman to senior. This guide is designed to provide parents with information on every critical component of the college application process, including identifying majors and schools, completing the application, understanding standardized tests, financial aid, and the FAFSA, and post-decision activities to complete, once the acceptance (or rejection) letters have been received. Parents of international students are also able to benefit from this guide, as it outlines additional requirements for pursuing a college education in the U.S. Each chapter provides valuable resources for accomplishing each goal, and concludes with FAQs and a suggested timeline for completing the activities described therein. A monthly calendar of students’ senior year of high school completes the book, outlining each of the activities to be accomplished. This guide ensures that parents are well-informed and well-prepared for their students’ senior-year activities prior to reaching the 12th grade.

My experience working with students is vast. I am an Assistant Professor in the Systems and Computer Science Department at Howard University, and the owner of ‘A’ Game Educational Services. In addition, I received my B.S. (Johnson C. Smith University, ’00), M.S., and Ph.D. (NC State University, ’03 and ’05, respectively) in computer science, becoming the first African-American female Ph.D. graduate in computer science from NC State University at age 27. I was a David and Lucille Packard Fellow, as well as a NASA Harriet G. Jenkins Fellow. My passion for preparing students for college and graduate studies is evident in my participation as a speaker in various workshops, presentations, and panels across the country on college and graduate school, including the DC STEM Summit, National Coalition for Women in Information Technology, and the National Society of Black Engineers. 

I would love the opportunity to discuss Prepped for Success more with you, including how to reach parents of students participating in the HBCU Bus Tour, each year. We all know that the best influence a student can have towards educational success is an active and engaged parent. I have included excerpts from two chapters in the book, as well as my contact information. More information on the book  is available at http://www.preppedforsuccess.com/book.html. Discounted pricing is available for bulk orders. Please feel free to contact me at any time. I look forward to speaking with you soon. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.



A. Nicki Washington, Ph.D.


703.243.5423 (o)

919.264.8961 (c)

The social process by which people interact and behave in a group environment is called group dynamics. Group dynamics involves the influence of personality, power, and behaviour on the group process. Is the relationship between individuals conducive to achieving the groups goals? Is the structure and size of the group an asset in pursuing both the task and maintenance functions of the group? How is formal and informal power used to build consensus or reach decisions? Does the combination of individuals produce the right culture? How these individuals, cultures, and internal forces interact allows us to analyze and better understand group effectiveness.

There are two types of groups: 1) formal groups who are structured to pursue a specific task, and 2) informal groups who emerge naturally in response to organizational or member interests. These interests may include anything from a research group charged with the responsibility to develop a new product to a group of workers who spontaneously come together to improve social or member activities. While we can learn a lot from informal groups in terms ofleadership and motivation, we will concentrate mostly on formal groups, characterized by member appointment and delegated authority and responsibility.

How many people will be required to ensure that all the skill sets necessary for the performance of the task are included? Will the task be slowed by a poor performer as may happen with assembly line production? Does the group contain the combination of leaders and followers that will lessen the potential for member rivalries and conflicts?

Diversification is a factor in both group development and skill requirement. A group of predominately white males may develop more quickly than an ethnically and racially diverse group of men and women. But while the former group may be better able to communicate, set standards and grow as a cohesive unit, it may not be diverse enough to meet all the community or organizational needs. A more diverse group may take longer to reach peak performance due to the number of cultures, language differences, and interpretation of the task to be completed, but once they do develop, diverse groups are equally productive and may even be more creative in problem-solving because members have access to a broader base of ideas for solutions.

When u respect the group leader as being competent

we must not forget the groups formed in classroom settings in which we teachers are the leaders the facilitator.

Groups can also change people behavior. Their behavior when “immersed in a group may be different when that person is alone.

Groups have a pofound impact on individuals. They shape actions, thoughts feelings.

Groups can make one lose their sense of identity. They r very influential in inititating change... prompt people to change attitudes toward a belief...

Most of the work is done by groups...so understanding the dynamics of groups will certainly maje things easier and our jobs more efficient.,

Cooperative learning (CL) has been found to be a highly effective instructional approach in education in general

athlets, cheerleaders, trendsetters rich kids and known as schl leaders...the way they treat others wth loer status in the groups

Im not sure certain things r taken into onsideration when teachers r hired to be part of a group. Depends on availability unfortunately... no chemistry

The appointment of individuals to a group based on their compatibility, diversity, or expertise does not assure effectiveness in achieving group goals. A group is initially a collection of personalities with different characteristics, needs, and influences. To be effective, these individuals must spend time acclimatizing themselves to their environment, the task, and to each other

This stage is also referred to as the counterdependent stage where members tend to “flex their muscles” in search of identity. In some cases, the group may have problems getting through this stage. This may occur if the group encounters difficulty clarifying their task, agreeing on their mission or mandate, or deciding how they will proceed. Lack of skills, ability or aptitude can also contribute to their inability to

When the group has sorted out its social structure and understands its goals and individual roles, it will move toward accomplishing its task.

Dominating and controlling: by displaying lack of respect for others, cutting them off, not listening, and restating other members’ suggestions with a different meaning;

There are two kinds of roles present in groups. The first is assigned roles. These include titles such as chairperson, secretary, manager, treasurer, etc. The second kind is emergent roles and arise as a result of group social or emotional needs. They include confidant, group clown, gossip, mentor, or scapegoat. Two factors that impact the effectiveness of organizational roles are role ambiguity and role conflict. Role ambiguity occurs when a person is unclear of what is expected of him or her, instructions about performance are not clear, tasks are assigned without context or if a supervisor’s actions and instructions send contradictory messages. Role Conflict occurs when a group member feels his or her job overlaps with others, or if the job description is unclear.

The ultimate role of groups is to come together as a unit and perform with professionalism and dedication. A group that can work as a unit, share tasks and recognize the contributions of its members will meet with more success than a group mired in conflict, role ambiguity, and lack of motivation. Group cohesion makes it attractive for members to belong, attracts high performers, and provides opportunities for individual recognition within a group setting.

This can lead to the formation of subgroups or cliques which further causes members to withdraw or withhold input. It is an act of protest because he or she may feel that their achievement is being used to raise the credibility of the whole group, or because there is a feeling that members are not pulling their weight. As we have seen earlier, this self-interest approach distracts from group performance and cohesion.


Any team or group will need support if it is to be effective. While the successful sports team requires training camps, coaching, and team discipline, other work teams have the same needs. First, there must be a recognition of the need for training. Members bring individual skills to the group that may need to be adapted to maximize their contribution to the group task. How are the skills complimenting each other? Is there an overlap and duplication? Is there a skills gap that must be addressed? Second, there may be a need for team-buildingskills. Is there a need for adaptation from a former environment?

Effective teams do not just happen, they are meticulously put together consisting of a group of highly skilled, highly motivated individuals who have a clear picture of their goals and can receive clear and tangible evidence of their achievements. A highly charged environment will attract high performers who are looking for success. Success builds on success, therefore, a group’s reputation is also a major selling point. There must be an opportunity for individual success within the framework of the group’s goals. There must be recognition of professionalism from co-workers, peers and the outside world. These are the factors that contribute to winning sports teams and there is no reason to think that other groups will respond any differently.