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Monday, October 31, 2005

Step By Step College Prep

From first generation applicants to Mr. Harvard's great-great-grandchildren every student has questions, and every parent wants the answers. What school is the right school? What is the application process like? Who can get financial aid? Where do people go for help? It's normal to feel like you are caught in a whirlwind of questions. These are the thoughts in every college-bound students head, and every household chooses to deal with them differently.

For some families, the answers come in the form of private tutors, curriculum advisors, the best SAT courses. Unfortunately these solutions can be as expensive as they are successful. For those families in which financial concerns often outweigh academic opportunities there are available cost-effective solutions. In the spirit of college diversity and higher education for every child, both the government and nonprofit sector have developed a number of pre-college programs. These programs are an extension of after school initiatives, with a more specific objective. Beyond providing academic assistance, they identify low-income and first-generation college students and provide them with encouragement, support and assistance. Students participate in rigorous courses and projects designed to exemplify the standards and teaching styles one will come across in college. In between these sessions both students and parents participate in workshops and tours to gradually familiarize themselves with the college process.

A large percentage of these programs are located on college campuses, which is the ideal setting for a number of reasons. Many of their target students have never been on a college campus, so this is a great experience for them. In addition to becoming more familiar with the setting, they become more comfortable in it. While attending classes after school or on the weekends they gain access to campus resources. The computer labs, libraries, and cafeterias are among the few areas they will begin to visit on a regular basis. In conjunction with program coordinators and teachers, these activities are generally facilitated by college students who assume the role of tutors and/or chaperones. Their presence is an integral component to the pre-college process. With the advantage of being relatively close in age to their students, tutors can effectively become both role models and teachers, sharing valuable life lessons in a very unique and personal way.

Here is a listing of NYC based Pre-College Programs:

Gateway Institute for Pre-College Education
The City College of The City
University of New York
160 Convent Avenue,
Harris Hall Room 06
New York NY 10031
(212) 650.6088


Lehman College: College Now/High School Programs
College Now prepares high school students for college by providing enrichment workshops and access to credit-bearing college-level courses.
College Now Program at
Lehman College
Carman Hall, Room 189
250 Bedford Park Blvd. West
(718) 960-8932


Summer in New York
A Pre-College Program
Office of Pre-College Programs
Barnard College Columbia University
3009 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
(212) 854-8866


Pre-college Science Collaborative for Urban Minority Youth
The American Museum of Natural History offers this program to high school juniors. Students develop, conduct, and present a science research project with the guidance of a science mentor and the program's science educators. Eleventh grade minority students willing to commit to a two-year program of independent research are encouraged to apply.

Department of Education
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024
(212) 769-5180.

Additional Programs with bases on multiple college campuses:

Liberty Partnerships Program
The Liberty Partnerships Program (LPP) was created in 1988 as a legislative response to New York's school dropout rate. The goals of LPP are to (1) establish collaborative and supportive partnerships between degree-granting postsecondary education institutions, public and non-public K-12 schools, parents, and other stakeholders that will develop and implement comprehensive programs designed to improve the abilities of at-risk youth to (2) graduate from high school and (3) prepare for competitive entry into postsecondary education and the workforce.*

*Liberty Partnerships Program,

Science and Technology Entry Program
The STEP program prepares talented junior high school and high school students for scientific, technical, and health-related careers. STEP seeks to increase the representation of historically under-represented minorities and economically disadvantaged persons in these fields.

Upward Bound Program
Mission: Provide opportunities for participants to succeed in pre-college performance and ultimately in higher education pursuits. Upward Bound serves high school students from low-income families, high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor's degree, and low-income, first-generation military veterans who are preparing to enter postsecondary education. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rates at which participants enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education.

For the complete listing pick up a copy of A Better Today Brings a Brighter Tomorrow, a resource guide for African American young people and their parents. Visit for more details.

About the Author:
This article is an excerpt of A Better Today Brings a Brighter Tomorrow, ( a resource guide for African American parents, self-published by LaShanda Henry. Visit to purchase a copy of this book or email for details.

© LaShanda Henry 2005

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