Right to College

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.

Right to College Reach & Impact

102 Youth Leaders being trained in 2019-2020
34 Participating sites
6600 Students being served

Why 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.

When high school students are well-trained to support their peers through the college process, it is a powerful and cost-effective way of reducing the college guidance gap. 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

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.

Our 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

    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 and access to Enroll NYC
    • Monthly 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
  • CARA has partnered with FMYI to develop a student-focused tracking tool that organizes all of the steps students needed to complete from application to enrollment. Right to College schools have access to Enroll NYC and support in using it.

    Enroll NYC allows college offices to keep track of the multiple tasks that each student must complete in order to successfully enroll in college. This type of individual tracking is an essential function of college counseling for first-generation college students.

    Taken in aggregate, tracking this extensive set of metrics across our schools and programs allows us to dig deeper into understanding key benchmarks that may lead to increased rates of postsecondary enrollment. CARA then shares these findings with our school and community partners, as well as with the wider community in NYC and beyond.

    Learn More

Youth Leaders from the Lehman Campus Student Success Center capture the many things Youth Leaders do.

Right to College School & CBO Partners

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