DEMAND FOR ADMISSION INTO SEO SCHOLARS
AS HIGH AS ELITE NYC PREP SCHOOLS
Over 800 Low-Income NYC Public H.S. Students Vied for Seats in Free Saturday School: 126 Accepted
(New York, NY February 28, 2013) While affluent parents around the city scrambled to get their children into elite private schools like Dalton, Collegiate or St. Anne’s, this fall low-income parents in New York City also competed for seats in a highly sought-after academic program: SEO Scholars. Last year, over 1,000 students applied but the college preparatory program only had room for 127. This year, the numbers were quite similar. Of the 800+ low-income public high school students who applied, SEO Scholars had the funding to accept 126 of them. Stats for the class of 2016 include:
- Average household income: $25,291
- Average high school GPA: 89.8
- First generation status: 86%
- 9th graders represent 55 different schools throughout the city
The rigorous out-of-school program provides 720+ hours of instruction on Saturdays, after school, during school breaks and a month-long summer session, adding the equivalent of 2.5+ years of English and 1.5+ years of math to the average school year.
“Some prospective students balk at the idea of Saturday and summer school,” said program director Millie Hau. “Then we tell them about our college acceptance rates, the financial aid packages and scholarships our students earn, the opportunities we provide to travel abroad or connect with a mentor, and they’re in.”
Consider Jason, a ninth grader who will be attending one of the lowest-performing public high schools in the city. Of his classmates, 4 out of 5 will graduate unprepared for college. If Jason is accepted to SEO Scholars, a recent independent study shows he will ultimately close the achievement gap that plagues so many of his peers—without the price tag of an elite prep school. SEO Scholars is free.
Last year, 100% of SEO Scholars were accepted to four-year colleges; 75% attend highly competitive schools. A Policy Studies Associates study revealed that Scholars outperformed national test-takers on the SAT with an average score of 1616, surpassing the score needed (1550) to be “college ready,” as identified by the College Board. That same class also earned over $1.5 million in scholarships for their first year of college alone.
The principal of Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics, Edward Tom, agrees. “Our students actually look forward to going to Saturday Academy, and we know the time investment will bring them success.”
Since 2006, SEO Scholars has tripled the number of students served. SEO Scholars estimates that there are 10,000 New York City students who could qualify for the program.
About SEO Scholars
SEO Scholars is a free out-of-school academic program that gets low-income public high school students to and through college. While in high school, Scholars attend 720+ hours of intensive academic programming during Saturday Academy, weekly after-school classes, sessions during school breaks, and a 3-week full-day Summer Academy. Once in college, Scholars are supported to ensure they graduate on time and are poised for career success. We are serving 479 high school students in New York City and San Francisco for the 2012-2013 academic year and we currently serve over 239 college students at 106 different schools across 19 states.