Let’s Get Ready, a non-profit tutoring or- ganization started by a Harvard graduate, recently opened a site at NYU.
Providing free SAT and college prep guidance to under-served students throughout the Northeast, the organi- zation was launched in 1998. Founder Jeannie Rosenthal, who was inspired by the disparity in resources between Scarsdale and Mount Vernon, opened her first class in a church basement serving 40 students. Today, Let’s Get Ready runs 73 programs, serves over 2,900 students and is assisted by over 1,200 college volunteers.
Valerie Tomici, who graduated from CAS in December, and Galla- tin senior Elizabeth Temkin are co-directors of the NYU chapter. Together, they recruit students and coaches, oversee classes and plan in- formation sessions, trips and events.
According to Tomici, Let’s Get Ready’s most important quality is that it gives students with fewer opportunities an en- trance ticket into the admissions process.
“[The program] works to level the play- ing field by supplying low-income high school students with the resources they need to get to college,” she said.
“In urban high schools the ratio of stu- dents to guidance counselors is near 500- to-1,” Tomici said. “Let’s Get Ready is able to provide undergrad mentors to these students to walk them through the more difficult aspects of the SAT and college and scholarship applications.”
Fabienne Doucet, assistant professor of education at NYU, agrees that programs like Let’s Get Ready not only provide use- ful resources to get students to go to col- lege, but also help them stay there.
“Policies and practices surrounding testing, the application process, admissions and so on are changing so rapidly that families may not be able to provide the support and information that it needed to best position students for college suc- cess,” Doucet said. “By going beyond ad- mission to supporting students toward re- tention and graduation, Let’s Get Ready is doing important work toward addressing the inequities inherent in the U.S. educa- tional system.”
Let’s Get Ready’s results indicate positive trends. Over the past 15 years, Let’s Get Ready has guided more than 16,000 under-served students through the college process, trained and sup- ported 6,000 college student volun- teers, helped over 90 percent of its students enter college directly after high school and increased its average student’s SAT scores by 112 points.
The strongest evidence of the pro- grams’s impact are the many high school students who return to the Let’s Get Ready program as coaches and site direc- tors themselves. Pooja Kumari, a coach for Let’s Get Ready and sophomore at NYU, remembers how much these stu- dents care and continue to keep in touch.
“[I’m just as] excited to hear about their college acceptances as they are. You get to meet a lot of great people, both students and coaches included,” Kumari said of the program. “And it really does feel like you’re doing something important.”
Kumari was forced to miss one session last semester, and multiple students tried to reach her through text because they were unwilling to forgo a class.
“I realized that they actually cared and that I was actually helping them,” Kumari said.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Feb. 11 print edition. Lesley Greenberg is a staff writer. Email her at [email protected]