Fostering Our College Bound Youth

Urban Upbound NYC
2 min readSep 4, 2020

Amidst the ongoing pandemic and following a busy recruitment season this summer, the Urban Upbound College Access Program has enrolled a record 76 high school students for our upcoming 2020–2021 youth development courses. One of these high schoolers is junior student Isaiah B., who participated in the program’s Sophomore Skills course that ended in June and is now enrolled in our Junior Skills course.

Back in February, Isaiah, along with the rest of our 21 sophomore students, took an entry exam so we could measure their progress at the end of the course. After attending a weekly two-hour virtual study session for four months — one month longer than originally planned due to the pandemic, Isaiah’s PSAT score increased by 100 points!

Isaiah has shared that the number of students in his study group was an important factor in his score increase. “With less students, the tutors have more time to answer my questions. At school, there are more than 20 people in a class — at [Urban Upbound] course, there are only 5–6 people,” he told us. Small groups of College Access participants are assigned to work with at least two tutors per group, affording them more flexibility to cover subjects at a faster or slower pace.

In addition to the Sophomore and Junior Skills courses, Urban Upbound’s College Access program offers College Prep courses for seniors. The Juniors Skills course consists of SAT preparation, practice exams, college fairs, and tours, as well as workshops on college exploration. In the College Prep course, seniors learn how to put together a strong college application, get assistance with FAFSA and scholarship applications, and get college referral letters, among other topics.

Urban Upbound is enormously grateful to the volunteer tutors from NYC Cares and to all our supporters and donors that allow us to continue serving the communities that need help the most. Please consider making a donation and visit our website to learn more about our work and our COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Efforts.

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Urban Upbound NYC

A collection of stories around NYC’s public housing communities curated by Urban Upbound, a non-profit organization with a mission to break cycles of poverty.