During the 2015-16 school year, Cambridge School Volunteers (CSV) expanded our popular College-Readiness Program, offering Cambridge students two regular weekly opportunities to work with helpful tutors and mentors: On Tuesdays, Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS) juniors gathered in the high school library’s fiction room for both English and math SAT prep classes, taught by CSV volunteers with expertise in these arenas. And on Wednesdays, both juniors and seniors met one-on-one with “their” volunteers in the CRLS Career College Resource Center to grapple together with the college planning and application, as well as the scholarship, process.
This year, 100 percent of the students in the program reported that they had completed their FAFSA application, the critical first step for obtaining financial aid. Additionally 95 percent of the students surveyed at the end of the program indicated that they understood the difference between financial aid loans and grants/scholarships.
A majority of the students served by the program this year are people of color (see chart, right). More than 75 percent of the students overall were offered admission to five or more schools. Students reported acceptances to Ivy League institutions, state schools, and private colleges and universities, as well as community colleges. More than 68 percent of the students surveyed said that the total cost and financial aid package that they were offered by a given institution would be the primary determinant in their choice of school.
One student spoke for many in her response to an open-ended question, “Mentors who work in the program are well-educated,” she said. “They are also really patient, which made me feel more comfortable and confident. My mentor made everything so easy to do and it was really helpful in the college readiness process.”
We are thrilled to report that all of these efforts brought great rewards! This year, 20 CRLS seniors received scholarships at wonderful colleges and universities. We applaud the time, energy, and commitment of these soon-to-be graduates and the dedication of volunteers who helped the students to achieve their goals!
To celebrate the resounding success of this year’s CRP program, on May 11th, CSV hosted a Senior Bash-Ice Cream Social, with the delicious treats donated by the Lizzy’s Homemade Ice Cream, located in Harvard Square. With all members of the senior class invited, the bash was a real hit as well: Just minutes into the event, the tubs were already empty, so Lizzy’s owner, Phil Rizzuto (CRLS ’06), graciously went back to his shop and returned with much more strawberry and oreo ice cream to scoop! Many thanks to Phil of Lizzy’s and, and great congratulations to the many hard-working students and wonderful volunteers of CSV!
The final words go to another student, a young man and, we believe, a future leader, who was accepted at Bentley, Brandeis, and U.Mass Boston. He wrote:
“I deeply appreciate all the support I received from the fellows, organizers, and mentors I worked with at the College Readiness Program. I owe my success in this challenge largely to the support I received and I will be forever grateful. Programs like this aren’t available in many other places, especially for free, so I am very fortunate to have participated in this program.”
To Ahmed and the other seniors in the Class of 2016, we concur, and we will miss you! Best of luck! Keep in touch! And please be sure to share with us some of your favorite college stories.