During their four years of high school, students on the “college path” toil everyday–aiming for the best SAT score, impressive extracurriculars, exquisite leadership positions, and the perfect GPA– to be accepted by colleges. As arduous as it seems, it is a worthwhile journey for dedicated students striving to pursue academic goals in prestigious schools. In this long journey, there are many students presented with less opportunities and privileges than others: low income students. Most coming from first generation families with working parents, low-income students lack access to resources and information to lead them to the best colleges like Ivys and UCs. Over the years, college preparation has been expensive, thus, not affordable for underprivileged students. That has produced unfortunate results, whereas only 3% of students at the most selective schools come from low-income households.
Thankfully, organizations formed around the states encourage and support brilliant students with high goals to succeed in the college admissions process; College Match is one of them. Every year, College Match helps 600 low income students in participating high schools to receive resources and connections.
Top students from the organizations 31 high schools are identified by school counselors during the first semester of junior year. Then, those high-achieving students apply, where they will be evaluated based on their applications, essay, interview and income verification. Once the student is accepted, he or she gets access to various programs and services provided by College Match, all for free. Personalized counseling, over 100 hours of SAT prep, East Coast College trip (visiting the nation’s top schools), help with applications, essay help, assistance on financial aid applications, summer college workshops and more…. All this for FREE! College Match does not hesitate to invest in the futures of its successful students.
As a result, the legacy of improving access to education has continued by College Match. Over the past four years, 72% of College Match seniors have been admitted into at least one Top 25 College and 96% have been admitted into at least one Top 50 College.
I am currently one of the juniors participating in College Match. This program has connected me with supportive SAT prep tutors, individualized counseling, and so much more. In public schools, there are long lines in front of the counselor’s office everyday; even after accomplishing that long wait, the counselor would yell at students, “I see you too often. I need to help other kids.” By having College Match, I have someone who I can ask to edit my cover letter, resumes for internships, inquire about possible college choices, and ask what W2 and 1090 documents are- the two crucial documents needed in financial aid applications that no one taught me before- within a short email’s reach. My College Match counselor, Ellen Nagler, and other faculty members are very supportive, willing to help me strive to be the best version of myself. College match students are looking forward to the East Coast Trip where students will be visiting Ivy League schools- Harvard, Brown, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, and more- as well as other liberal arts colleges in March. Of course, everything is paid for by College Match!
Amist of all the society’s unjust gaps and lack of resources for low-income students, programs like College Match become advocates and personal supporters for the hard working students like me. To learn more about this wonderful program, visit the website at www.collegematchla.org.
Goeun Lee, Grade 11
Larchmont Charter School