A partnership between SUNY New Paltz and the Newburgh School District through Let’s Get Ready, a non-profit organization that supports underprivileged high school students, is making free SAT and college preparation programming available to local high school students.
“The Let’s Get Ready program is valuable for everyone involved,” said Michael Rosenberg, dean of the School of Education. “Our students get the opportunity to contribute to a high-needs school district, providing much needed SAT tutoring for kids who might not be able to afford it. But it is valuable also because it is a tangible example of college outreach. Our students are out there representing SUNY New Paltz to Newburgh students who may end up wanting to attend our college, or who may decide they want to become teachers.”
Let’s Get Ready works by providing training for college students in SAT course instruction and helping them connect with high school students in traditionally low-income districts, in an effort to increase college readiness and enrollment. This semester, 12 New Paltz students received training and have coached dozens of Newburgh Free Academy (NFA) students at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center (NAUC).
New Paltz student Mariah Brown ’15 (Journalism/Black Studies) is a Let’s Get Ready alumna who was motivated to return to the program as a site director because of the impact it had on her when she was in high school.
“Taking part in Let’s Get Ready gave me the confidence I needed when taking the SAT and standardized tests in general,” Brown said. “It also had me thinking ahead to foster a vision of myself as a young professional entering college, and eventually graduating.”
The organization reports average SAT score increases of 115 points for its participants, more than 92 percent of whom enroll in college after high school. Students of the program get more than just guidance in passing the test, however, as their mentors offer advice about the college application and admission process, financial aid and college life.
“I try to foster a sense of community,” Brown said. “I structure the sessions as if we are a team, and I let the students know that they are a very important part of the team. We want them to know that we’re here to help them first and foremost, so if they put in the work they will see the results.”
About Let’s Get Ready
Let’s Get Ready was founded in 1998, and has grown to enroll more than 25,000 students and has trained more than 8,000 college students as coaches to mentor them. The organization is funded by private and corporate donations and sponsorships, which allows it to provide for program administration, instructor training, transportation, classroom materials and food for more than 30 college-high school partnerships in the northeastern U.S.
Additional support of the New Paltz-NFA partnership is provided by the Athletic Department, which made vehicles available to transport College volunteers to and from Newburgh.