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College Access Resources

Our graduates aspire to competitive four-year colleges. To support students during this time, we have compiled a list of excellent organizations that can help high school students as early as freshman year.

We have organized this resource around several core elements of support that a student needs to get into a good college:

  • Overview and Timeline
  • Application Process and Guidance
  • Academic Support and Enrichment
  • Test Preparation
  • Extra-Curricular Opportunities
  • Scholarships and Financial Aid

If you feel like you only need help with some of these areas, go right ahead and jump to the sections that interest you most. If you’re feeling confused and don’t really know where to start, have no fear. Going through each of these sections will give you an idea of the specific steps to take and where you can turn to get the support you need.

As always, when we find resources you might benefit from we try to make them available more widely when we can. If you have friends, relatives, or know other students who could use some help through the college application process, we encourage you to share this page with them.

Please note that we have not comprehensively vetted each of these resources. If you have feedback on any resources listed here, or if you identify additional helpful resources we can share, please let us know at alumni@harlemacademy.org.

Overview and Timeline for the College Process

For students of all ages, the first step should be to identify where you are in the "college process." Khan Academy has prepared an excellent online resource that includes a comprehensive timeline. Here is their introduction:

"Getting ready for the college application process can feel intimidating, and you probably have numerous questions. Which classes should you take in high school to prepare yourself for success? How do extracurriculars and standardized tests fit into the picture? What sort of application essay should you write? Once you get into college, how should you go about paying for it?

The good news: you're not alone. Every student who has gone on to college has had these same sort of questions at one point or another. Often, a way to begin is by looking at a timeline that lists activities to complete as you navigate the college admissions process. The timeline does just that, beginning your freshman year of high school. If you're joining us later than that—perhaps you're a junior or senior—that's great too. Just take a look through each of the sections, see what you've missed, work to get yourself caught up on the things you can change, and don't worry about the things that you can't." 

We think this advice and the Khan academy website is a great start, but it is up to you to be active in identifying what you need to do and making it happen! After reading the overview and identifying where you are on the timeline above, see the sections below for specific resources that are available to you.

Guidance and Getting Help

Applying to college starts with a plan. What schools are the right fit for you? When are the application deadlines? How do you apply for financial aid? Your high school’s guidance counselor is a great first stop in answering these questions, but the resources below can help you get some real in-depth support, but if you would like additional support in your college application process, we encourage you to contact one of the services below.

  • Advising Services:
     

    • Bottom Line – College Access: High School juniors and seniors receive one-on-one college counseling services. Students at public schools are eligible (does not include exam schools or competitive arts schools).
    • Goddard Riverside Center – Options College Counseling: Provides guidance to and through college including help with financial aid, school choices, and much more. Available for students at public and parochial schools. 
    • Good Shepherd Services: High School students prepare to apply and enroll at CUNY schools at multiple program locations in Brooklyn and the Bronx.
    • College Point: Free, online, personalized college guidance for students that meet the academic performance and income level requirements.
    • New Settlement College Access Program: Call to schedule an appointment at this Bronx-based college access and community service center (718-294-3870).
    • Casita Maria: This organization provides college access assistance to students in the South Bronx.
  • Long-term enrichment programs that include guidance:
     

    • HEAF College Quest: Students in grades 9-11 participate in a variety of educational enrichment activities and high school seniors receive one-to-one college counseling.
    • SEO Scholars: Long term program including tutoring, test prep, college guidance, and college support. Public High School students can apply in 9th grade.
    • POSSE Program: Students must be nominated by their high school to apply for this highly competitive college access and support program. Check and see if your school is a nominating organization.
  • Online search tools and resources:
     

Are we missing something? Write us at alumni@harlemacademy.org  to suggest an addition to this list.

Academic Support and Enrichment

Good grades are essential for college admissions. Whether you are struggling or succeeding in high school, the organizations below can support you in improving your GPA.

  • General academic support:
     

    • Columbia University – Double Discovery Center: Apply at any time during high school for this holistic academic enrichment and college prep program that provides one-on-one tutoring, workshops, and summer programs. Admission based on academic performance and financial need, with a preference to students in District 5.
    • CUNY – College Now: CUNY partners with many public high schools to offer college-level courses, college prep workshops, and other programming that varies by location. Primarily serves students that are ready for college-level academics.
    • YMCA: Find your local YMCA to see what services they offer. Many have programs to provide academic support after-school and on weekends.
    • Local Recreation Centers:  NYC Park Department runs recreation centers in neighborhoods throughout the city where students can go for various forms of enrichment and support.
  • Neighborhood-based programs:
     

    • Bank Street – Liberty LEADs: After school, weekend, and summer programs for academic enrichment and college prep. Primarily serves residents of West Harlem, Washington Heights, and Morningside Heights.
    • Kingston Heights – College Directions: This Bronx Community Center offers a wide range of academic support for local high school students.
    • Casita Maria: This organization provides college access assistance to students in the South Bronx.
    • YM & YWHA: This organization provides after-school academic support to students in Washington Heights and Inwood.
    • Boys Club of New York:  Provides academic support and enrichment at multiple locations, including a clubhouse in East Harlem.
    • Boys & Girls Harbor: This East Harlem organization offers extensive support and enrichment for teens.
    • Union Settlement: This service organization offers enrichment programs at multiple East Harlem locations.
  • Long-term programs:
     

    • Minds Matter: Long-term program beginning in 9th grade that includes mentoring, writing and critical thinking curriculum, leader-based summer programs, and funding for private test prep. 
    • Opportunity Network: Programs for High School enrichment and college prep with a focus on career readiness and goal-setting. Rising 9th graders can apply for the Prep Program and rising 10th graders can apply for the Fellows Program.
    • SEO Scholars: Long term program including tutoring, test prep, college guidance, and college support. Public High School students can apply in 9th grade with an average of 70% or above.
    • HEAF College Quest: Students in grades 9-11 participate in a variety of educational enrichment activities and high school seniors receive one-to-one college counseling. Public High School students in grades 9 and 10 with an average of 80% or above can apply.
    • LEDA Scholars Program: Apply during 11th grade for this program that provides academic support to and through college including a leadership-based summer program.  LEDA selects “high-achieving, low-income students from communities that are under-represented at our nation’s top colleges and universities”
    • NY Public Library Bridge Up: Long-term program for 8th-12th Grade students that offers homework help, career development, college guidance, and grant money to pursue extracurricular interests.
  • Lists compiled by other organizations:
     

Are we missing something? Write us at alumni@harlemacademy.org  to suggest an addition to this list.

Test Preparation

Standardized test scores (SAT/ACT) are a key component to a strong college application. Many high schools offer test prep courses and practice tests, so check with your school counselor to see what is available. The resources below also provide help preparing for tests outside of school.

Are we missing something? Write us at alumni@harlemacademy.org  to suggest an addition to this list.

Extracurricular Opportunities

A well-rounded college application includes a demonstrated interest in extracurricular activities, clubs, or your community. We strongly encourage you to explore opportunities available through your high school such as sports teams, clubs, or community service. You can also check out some of the organizations below that offer non-academic enrichment for free or at a low cost.

Are we missing something? Write us at alumni@harlemacademy.org  to suggest an addition to this list.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Affording college can be tough, no matter what your family's economic background is. The good news is that there are many scholarship opportunities available. The trick is finding the right ones and getting applications submitted on time. The following online resources provide advice on securing financial aid. We have also compiled an extensive list of scholarship opportunities, which is included below. 

Online Guides and Resources

Specific Scholarships

These are organized by application deadline. Don't wait until the last minute - do your research and apply early! Some applications will require essays, recommendations, and other additional submissions. 

Summer (June - August)

Name: Jack and Jill of America Foundation
Award
: $1,500 - $2,500 per year, renewable
What: Leadership-based scholarship for black student attending four-year colleges. Must apply during senior year of high school.
Who: Black students
Scores: Minimum 3.0 GPA
When: June 1

Name: ACA Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship
Award
: $1,000, non-renewable
What: For minority nominees who have demonstrated an interest in pursuing a career in criminal justice. Must be nominated.
Who: Students of color, demonstrated need (FAFSA)
When: June 1

Name: Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology
Award
: $2,000 per year, renewable
What: Scholarship intended to support black students pursuing a degree in Science or Technology at a Historically Black college or University.
Who: Black
Scores: Minimum 3.0 GPA.
Tip: Must contact the science or engineering department at a specific school to get an application.
When: June 15

Name: Thurgood Marshall - Walmart 1st Generation Scholarship Program
Award
: $6,200 per year, renewable|
What: Scholarship for first-generation college students attending an HBCU and demonstrating strong leadership potential.
Who: Accepted at an HBCU, demonstrated financial need
Scores: Minimum 2.5 GPA
When: June 24

Fall (September - November)

Name: Ron Brown Scholar Program
Award: $10,000/year, renewable
What: This selective scholarship encourages civic engagement while promoting academic excellence, community and lifelong interactions.  Scholars are also provided with the nurturing and mentorship to succeed and flourish in college and beyond.  
Who: Black, must show demonstrated need.
Scores: There are no specific GPA or SAT cutoffs, but competition is intense and successful applicants have demonstrated serious academic commitment.
Tip: Applicants must exhibit exceptional leadership potential and participate in community service activities. 10 scholarships are awarded each year.
When: January 9 (there is an early deadline of November 1 that will offer consideration from additional scholarship providers)

Name: Xerox Minority Scholarships
Award
: $1,000 - $10,000, depending on need
What: Provides funding to students of color pursuing a degree in one of the technical sciences or engineering disciplines.
Who: Students of color, financial need, US citizens and permanent residents
Scores: Minimum 3.0 GPA.
When: September 30

Name: Coca Cola Scholarships
Award
: $20,000, non-renewable
What: Achievement-based scholarship granted to students with a demonstrated capacity to lead and serve, and a commitment to making a significant impact in their schools and communities.
Who: US Citizen, national, permanent resident, or refugee.
Scores: Minimum 3.0 GPA at end of junior year
Tip: 1,400 awarded each year
When: October 31 (preceding high school graduation)

Name: Toyota Making Life Easier Scholarship Program
Award
: $1,250 - $5,000 per year, renewable
What: Scholarship granted for undergraduate or graduate study according to financial need and community service involvement. Only available to current members of non-profit community partners as listed on the website.
Who: Demonstrated financial need
Scores: Minimum 2.0 GPA
Tip: Up to 110 awards each year.
When: November 6

Winter (December - February)

Name: Gates Millennium Scholars Program
Award: $12,785/year (average), renewable
What: The goal of GMS is to promote academic excellence and to provide an opportunity for thousands of outstanding Pell Grant eligible students of color to reach their fullest potential.
Who: Students of color, must show demonstrated need (Pell Grant eligible)
Scores: GPA: 3.3
Tip: Applicants must have demonstrated leadership abilities through participation in community service, extracurricular or other activities.  1,000 scholarships are awarded each year.
When: January 13

Name: Tom Joyner Foundation Full Ride Scholarship
Award
: Full tuition and stipends for up to 10 semesters to cover on-campus room and board and books
What: This scholarship covers all the expenses of one student planning to attend a Historically Black College and University (HBCU).
Who: Applicants must have demonstrated leadership abilities through participation in community service, extracurricular, or other activities.
Scores: 3.5 GPA and 1200 SAT or 30 ACT
Tip: 1 scholarship is awarded each year.
When: January 15

Name: UNCF STEM Scholars
Award
: $2,500/year (freshmen and sophomores); $5,000/year (juniors and seniors), and an additional $5,000 for students whose academic programs require a fifth year.
What: This scholarship provides support for African American/Black high school students who aspire to earn STEM degrees and to pursue careers in STEM fields. The award includes a summer leadership institute (pre-college), mentoring, and training.
Who: Black, demonstrated financial need
Scores: GPA: 3.0, with a minimum unweighted GPA of 3.0 (4.0 scale) in math and science courses, including pre-calculus
Tip: 100 scholarships are awarded each year.
When: February 3

Name: Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
Award: Up to $40,000/year
What: This scholarship rewards excellence by supporting high-achieving high school seniors with financial need who seek to attend the nation's best four-year colleges and universities.  The award focuses on students with exceptional academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence, a desire to help others, and leadership.
Who: Family income must be below $95,000, and most will be eligible for a Pell grant.  No citizenship requirement.
Scores: 3.5 GPA, SAT combined critical reading and math score of 1200 or ACT score of 26
Tip: Up to 40 scholarships are awarded each year.
When: February 12

Name: National Association of Black Journalists
Award
: $2,500 (not renewable)
What: Must have demonstrated interest in majoring in journalism or a communications-related discipline at an accredited college/university.  Must be a NABJ member ($35).
Who: No citizenship requirement.  
Scores: 2.5 GPA
When: February 12

Name: Jackie Robinson Foundation
Award
: $28,000/year
What: Scholarships for students showing leadership potential and dedication to community service.
Who: Students of color, demonstrated financial need
Scores: SAT 1000, ACT score of 21
Tip: Around 60 scholarships are awarded each year.
When: February 15

Name: Congressional Black Caucus Foundation General Mills Health Scholarship
Award
: $2,000 (not renewable)
What: This scholarship seeks to increase the number of minority students pursuing degrees in the fields of medicine, engineering, technology, nutrition, and other health-related studies.
Who: Black, must reside or attend school in a CBC member district (instructions on the website).
Scores: 2.75 GPA
When: February 28

Spring (March - May)

Name: Blacks at Microsoft Scholarship
Award
: $5,000/year
What: Student must plan to pursue a bachelor's degree in engineering, computer science, computer information systems, or select business programs (such as finance, business administration, or marketing).
Who: Of African descent, demonstrated financial need
Scores: 3.3 GPA, SAT, ACT
Tip: 2 scholarships are awarded each year
When: March 1

Name: American Chemical Society Scholarship Program
Award
: $5,000/year
What: Student must plan to pursue a college degree in the chemical sciences or chemical technology, such as environmental science, toxicology and chemical technology.
Who: Student of color, demonstrated need
Scores: 3.0 GPA in chemistry or science
Tip: About 150 awards per year
When: March 1

Name: National Press Club Scholarship for Journalism Diversity
Award
: $2,500/year
What: This scholarship seeks to recruit promising future journalists who will bring diversity to American journalism.
Who: No citizenship requirement
Scores: 3.0 GPA
Tip: 1 award per year
When: March 1

Name: Becas Univision Scholarship Program
Award
: $500-$5,000, based on financial aid package (not renewable, but you can reapply)
What: This scholarship supports Hispanic students residing in the U.S.
Who: Hispanic, no citizenship requirement
Scores: 3.0 GPA
When: March 30

Name: Hispanic Scholarship Fund
Award
: $500-$5,000, based on financial aid package (not renewable, but you can reapply)
What: The HSF Scholarship is designed to assist students of Hispanic heritage obtain a college degree.  Emphasis is placed on STEM majors.
Who: Hispanic, open to eligible non-citizens
Scores: 3.0 GPA
When: March 30

Name: Congressional Black Caucus Spouses Visual Arts Scholarship
Award
: $3,000
What: This award is for students with majors in the visual arts including, but not limited to, architecture, ceramics, drawing, fashion, graphic design, illustration, interior design, painting, photography, sketching, video production and other decorative arts.
Who: Black
Scores: 2.5 GPA
When: April 29

Name: Congressional Black Caucus Spouses Heineken USA Performing Arts Scholarship
Award
: $3,000
What: This scholarship is for students pursuing a major and career in performing arts, including drama, music, dance, opera, marching bands, and other musical ensembles.
Who: Black
Scores: 3.0 GPA
When: April 29

Name: TMCF - Ford Blue Oval Scholarship
Award
: $6,200 (not renewable)
What: This scholarship offers financial assistance to attend one of the 47 publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) within the TMCF member-school network.
Who: Black, male, demonstrated financial need
Scores: 3.0 GPA
When: April 30

Name: HENAAC Scholars Program
Award
: $500-$10,000 (not renewable, though students can reapply each year)
What: This scholarship focuses on Hispanic students pursuing STEM degrees.  Applicants must demonstrate leadership or service within the Hispanic community.
Who: Hispanic, need, citizenship
Scores: 3.0 GPA
Tip: Around 100 scholarships are awarded each year.  
When: April 30

Name: Herbert Lehman Education Fund Scholarship
Award
: $2,000/year for four years
What: The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund offers this competitive scholarship for graduating high school seniors who demonstrate financial need and a commitment to public service.
Who: Students must demonstrate financial need
Scores: No minimum scores or grades, full application will be considered,
When: May 1

Name: American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation Incoming Freshman Scholarship
Award: $4,000, non-renewable.
What: This foundation provides a scholarship for incoming freshman enrolled as a hospitality major for the upcoming year.
Who: No restrictions, open to US citizens and permanent residents.
Scores: Minimum 2.0 GPA
When: May 1

Name: UNCF/Nissan Scholarship
Award
: $2,500 per year for up to four years
What: Scholarship award for students attending an HBCA to pursue a major in business, engineering, finance, information technology, or marketing.
Who: Black students
Scores: Minimum 3.0 GPA
Tip: Only 10 awarded nationally
When: May 1

Name: Actuarial Foundation Diversity Scholarship
Award: $1,000 to $4,000, varies by year in college. Renewable.
What: The goal of this scholarship is to promote diversity within the actuarial profession for students entering their first through fourth year in college.
Who: Students of color.
Scores: Minimum GPA of 3.0, -Entering college freshmen must have a minimum ACT math score of 28 or SAT math score of 600.
When: May 2

Name: Congressional Black Caucus Spouses Education Scholarship
Award
: $500 - $8,200, non-renewable.
What: Scholarship for black students that demonstrate high leadership and community service potential.
Who: Black, open to US citizens and permanent residents.
Scores: Minimum 2.5 GPA
When: May 20

Name: NBMBAA Scholarship Program
Award
: Up to $5,000, non-renewable
What: The National Black MBA Association awards students who demonstrate academic excellence, exceptional leadership potential, and are actively involved in their local communities through service to others.
Who: Black, open to US citizens, permanent residents, and Canadian citizens.
Scores: Minimum 3.0 GPA.
Tip: Must be a financially active member of NBMBAA.
When: May 29

Name: TMCF - Costco Wholesale
Award
: $6,300 (not renewable)
What: This scholarship offers financial assistance to attend one of the 47 publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) within the TMCF member-school network.
Who: Black, male, demonstrated financial need
Scores: 3.0 GPA
When: June 30

Name: TMCF - USA Funds Success
Award: $6,200 (not renewable)
What: This scholarship offers financial assistance to attend one of the 47 publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) within the TMCF member-school network.
Who: Black, male, demonstrated financial need
Scores: 3.0 GPA
When: June 30

Are we missing something? Write us at alumni@harlemacademy.org  to suggest an addition to this list.