High-school-based program has helped over 750 students apply to and attend college

Zoom Image of NYU CALI Session

The New York University College Access Leadership Institute (NYU CALI), which works to demystify the college application process for rising high school juniors and seniors, celebrated its 10th year of programming last week. Since 2010, NYU CALI has educated more than 750 students on the steps to applying to college, as well as to be ambassadors at their respective high schools, exponentially expanding the reach of the program.

This year, more than 100 students attended the first-ever virtual version of the Institute. High school students from California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas–many of whom would be the first generation in their families to attend college and are from historically underserved and marginalized communities–learned about the pathway from high school to college and how best to prepare for this process. Program graduates become certified College Access Ambassadors and are required to act as mentors and advisers in their high schools by conducting their very own college application workshops—thereby reaching and educating thousands of college-seeking students every year.

“College readiness is about so much more than just academics,” said Jonathan Williams, Assistant Vice President of Admissions at NYU. “NYU CALI is one of our signature access programs that aims to support students and communities with the tools and resources to navigate the bridge that connects high school to college. As we celebrate the past 10 years, we aim to grow our efforts significantly over the next 10—for this and other NYU pre-college programs that strengthen relationships in communities and further develop the K-20 pipeline.”

All students who complete the NYU CALI program receive an NYU Application Fee Waiver, which they may use should they apply to NYU for college in their senior year of high school. Many students have been admitted to and attend various institutions in the US including: NYU, Cornell University, Duke University, Harvard University, Howard University, Northwestern University, Princeton University, Stanford University, University of Notre Dame, University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Southern California.

“College applications can be extremely daunting,” said Jimmy Suarez, Undergraduate Admissions Director of Planning and Program Development at NYU. “We teach students about the rigors of the process, including: standardized testing, essay writing, financial literacy, external scholarships, and engaging with admissions staff, and we continually update the curriculum to make sure the information is relevant and timely. This year, we served students virtually by leveraging technology to gauge how lessons, activities, and speakers resonated with them — and all in real time! We kept it interactive by using tools like a virtual scavenger hunt as an ice breaker and breakout sessions to enhance the connections within the micro-communities that make up our larger community.”

"I am just so happy, motivated, and inspired because we get to speak to a diverse range of students from NYU and see how successful they are,” noted Viviana Luna, a 2020 NYU CALI student. “As a ‘first gen’ and being Hispanic, I'm used to seeing predominantly one race that succeeds, especially in my current school, so seeing this makes me believe in myself.”

In addition to working with high school guidance counselors, NYU CALI has partnered with a number of colleges and universities and organizations over the years, including:

NYU College Advising Corps
The College Board
College Bound Initiative
Study Smart Tutors Inc.
Barnard College
Gettysburg College
Seton Hall University
Stevens Institute of Technology

For more information, visit the NYU CALI website: https://www.nyu.edu/admissions/high-school-programs/nyu-cali.html.

NYU CALI is a program in NYU’s Division of Enrollment Management. Enrollment Management’s mission is to recruit, evaluate, select, enroll, assist, and serve the students of New York University, the largest independent research university in America. The Division is responsible for all enrollment functions, research, and operations for NYU's schools and colleges in New York as well as degree-granting campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai. While the Division is headquartered in New York City, reporting staff are positioned throughout NYU's global network.


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