Right to College

In New York City public high schools, on average, there is one school counselor for 221 students and many schools do not have a full time staff member devoted to college counseling.

What is a Youth Leader and their role?

CARA’s Right to College program addresses the gap in college guidance for first-generation college students, low-income students, and students of color by training 11th and 12th graders as Youth Leaders who support their peers through the post-secondary exploration and college application process.

Youth Leaders most often work out of Student Success Centers, shared spaces on multi-school campuses run by community-based organizations in partnership with the schools they serve. Youth Leaders:

  • Develop and implement a plan to strengthen their college-going culture in their school
  • Facilitate early awareness workshops for 9th and 10th graders
  • Support 11th and 12th graders to create well-balanced college lists
  • Work one-on-one with 25-50 12th graders on the college application and financial aid process

Right to College Program Model

  • Youth Leaders - carefully selected high school students that work under the supervision of CBO and/or school-based staff - have 70+ hours of comprehensive training in college access content. Training includes the following:

    Post Secondary Options:
    -Myths & Realities
    -Challenges to the College Process
    -Career Exploration
    -Key Policy Issues

    Search & Application Process:
    -College List Making
    -CUNY System
    -SUNY System
    -Private Colleges
    -Personal Statement Writing

    Financial Aid:
    -Types of Aid
    -FAFSA Process
    -Financial Aid Packages
    -Opportunity Programs

    Working With Students:
    -Counseling Skills
    -Supporting Undocumented Students
    -Workshop Facilitation
    -Data Tracking

    Peer Leadership for College Access & Success Core Competencies

    Peer Leadership for College Access & Success Professional Capacities

    Table of Contents
  • CARA provides coaching support to new and existing sites to develop strong partnerships in the following ways:

    Professional Development Support:

    • Coaching visits to guide the work being done and provide resources
    • Professional development series on college counseling and program development

    Support to Programming and Student Success Center (SSC) Development:

    • Development of systems for communication between SSC and schools
    • Materials created for each site as needed
    • Assistance planning campus-wide events and workshops
    • Collaborative sessions to plan Youth Leader training
    • Sharing of resources and opportunities to help SSC staff with program development and student support
    • Mid and end-of-year assessment using program rubrics developed by CARA

    Evaluation Support:

    • Data tracking support
    • Quarterly data snapshots with feedback
  • CARA supports furthering the development of our model through:

    • Collaboration with DoE’s Office of Postsecondary Readiness to design Student Success Center expansion pilot and institutes for College Access For All school/CBO teams
    • Support for securing additional funds, as needed
    • Advocacy, in partnership with the Urban Youth Collaborative, for city funding for youth leadership
    • Advocacy within NYC Department of Education for recognition and resources for the model

Program Rubric

See Right to College’s Program Rubric

See our Theory of Change Model

How Right to College Works

CBO and School(s) Establish Partnership

Hire appropriate staff to supervise Youth Leaders and manage college office

Develop collaborative approach between CBO and school(s), defining goals and action plan together and ensuring regular communication about program implementation and student progress

CBO and Schools Hire & Supervise Youth Leaders

Recruit and hire Youth Leaders (2/small school)

Pay Youth Leader for training and work time (minimum wage)

Provide regular supervision to Youth Leaders

School Provides Space & Time for Youth Leader Work

Establish a centrally located college office

Identify periods of time in schedule for Youth Leaders to work with students in groups and one-on-one

Designate time in calendar for college-going culture events

CBO and Schools Participate in Training & Evaluation

Ensure Youth Leaders and supervisors attend summer and academic year training

Participate in conference planning and facilitation

Track and report aggregate data to CARA and participate in assessments

Right to College Reach

109 Peer Leaders being trained in 2022-23
38 Participating sites
8100 Students being served

Right to College School & CBO Partners

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