DC alumna helps students begin college journey

Douglas County alumna gives back, helps students begin their college journey
Posted on 10/31/2017

The college application process can be daunting even for the students who rank among the highest-performing in their class. For Douglas County High School alumna, Katy Craig (class of 1995), it has been a long-standing passion of hers to give back to high school students the knowledge she has gained since the days of applying to colleges herself, so they can reach their full potential.

Working first as the Scholarship Program Director with the Boettcher Foundation, and more recently the Foundation’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, Craig has been touring high school auditoriums around the state, sharing information with high school students on how to create compelling college applications, how to sort through the inundation of resources, and coaching them through the anxiety that can set in.

Now, she has co-authored a book with Boettcher Foundation CEO, Katie Kramer, that she hopes will reach more students. Called All of the Wisdom and None of the Junk: Secrets of Applying for College Admission and Scholarships, the book gives students inside information— but only what they truly need to create exceptional college and scholarship applications. It takes readers step-by-step through actual prompts and sample responses to the Common Application (accepted by nearly 700 colleges and universities), as well as the Boettcher Scholarship Application.

Craig explains, “We were interacting with counselors, working one school at a time, one auditorium at a time. We just thought, how can we reach more people? It would be so helpful if students had something physically right next to their computer as they worked.”

A Boettcher Scholar herself, Craig drew upon her own experiences and memories while helping pen the book.

“We talked about how much pressure and anxiety there is for students, knowing how expensive college can be. They have no experience filling out a college application, yet they have to learn this unwieldy process, and it’s completely high stakes,” she says.

Upon graduating Douglas County High School, Craig attended the University of Denver, graduating with degrees in French, creative writing, and communications. From there, she says she “felt her way along.” Her intense desire to give back to others brought her to Costa Rica, where she volunteered in a community art center and managed the gallery twice per week, organized a fundraiser and prepared art education classes for children and teens.

Craig credits her parents for her desire to give back to others.

“They taught me the value of education and being responsible to use our gifts to do whatever we can to help others,” she says.

She also credits much of her passion to several teachers she had at Douglas County High School, including her school newspaper advisor, Gretchen Simmons, calculus teacher, Jodene Kissler, and theatre teacher, Denina Brown.

“Douglas County High School was such an important part of my education,” Craig says, who adds she still occasionally performs improvisational theatre to this day.

Finding her way back to Denver, Craig returned to the University of Denver as the assistant director of its honors program, while simultaneously holding the positions of first-year English instructor, honors seminar instructor, honors symposium instructor and Nelson Hall faculty resident, before joining the staff of the Boettcher Foundation in 2005.

Craig’s advice to high school students just beginning the college application journey: “Go with your quirks. I want them to value their own experience and show up as their true selves.”

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