Let's Get Ready has been the most significant part of my four years in college. In my time volunteering with the with the Columbia LGR program at Frederick Douglass Academy (both as a tutor and director), I have learned more than I have in any college course. Teaching a class of five students is an intimidating task, but the resources provided by LGR made me feel confident going in to the classroom. Most importantly, I felt like I made a significant impact in the lives of the students in my class. I would recommend volunteering with LGR to any student--it's a great cause with extraordinarily high impact.
Let's Get Ready is an incredible organization that is dedicated to not only teaching youth the skills they need to persevere in the college application process, but empowering them to take the skills and apply them throughout their education and their lives. As a four time site director, five year volunteer, verbal coach, and sometime office intern, I have worked with many students who, through the help of LGR, changed their opinion from "I can't go to college" to "I can go to college--and succeed". Not only do the students benefit from the program, which provides five-to-one tutoring and mentoring by current college students, but parents benefit as well; the program offers financial aid information to parents, and allows them to help their children navigate the tricky process, even if they've never been through it themselves. Coaches, too, are able to complete an exercise in mentorship, hone their teaching skills, and learn firsthand about the gaps in our education system and the need for change. As a site director, I have never been more proud than when a former student, who had gotten into a college in Connecticut, called me the summer before she began to ask me where to buy her books so she could be ahead of the class. This particular student had sacrificed much to get into school against her parents' wishes, and was set and ready to go--but still felt comfortable enough to reach out to her LGR family for support. That's what LGR is all about.
I worked with LGR for three years as a college student and can honestly say it was the most important aspect of my undergraduate education. I will always be grateful to LGR for helping me meet such inspiring high school students and university volunteers. It is a truly special non-profit that empowers everyone that comes into contact with it.
I have volunteered with LGR for over three years, serving as a math coach, verbal coach, site director, and office intern. One of the best aspects of this organization is that anyone involved can see almost immediate results - students improve very quickly, and watching participants complete compelling and heartfelt personal statements is a true joy. The writer in me has a deep appreciation for the careful attention given to student essays, and as someone interested in youth development, watching students grow into mature, caring, and capable individuals over the course of the semester is equally rewarding.
LGR highlights areas that students need to improve in while encouraging their burgeoning talents. Students are made to feel talented, and I think this speaks to the high quality college volunteers LGR recruits - coaches from diverse backgrounds dedicate themselves to student improvement, on both the academic and personal levels. From the moment you walk into an LGR classroom, it's clear that everyone involved has a passion for college access.
To see a student go from being entirely unsure about whether or not college could (or should) be in their future to having multiple admissions offers is a truly powerful thing. LGR will break your heart and then sew it back up again - the program shows how truly unequal and out-of-reach higher education is for so many in this country.
Let's Get Ready is an outstanding organization that offers under-served high school students the chance to beat the odds and get into college.
This innovative model uses college students, who have recently been through the college application process, to coach high school students in the areas of SAT prep, college applications, decision making and financial aid. Most of the students served are first generation college students, who have little support or help with a very overwhelming process. Let's Get Ready makes it a win-win for everyone. The college students gain valuable service hours, public speaking skills, and learn leadership and responsibility. The high school students get FREE SAT help, application assistance and gain confidence from knowing the process and having people believe in what they can do.
As a marketing advisor to this organization, I have been able to witness the remarkable success of this organization. Yes, the statistics are all there and they are doing SUCH wonderful things for the students and coaches. But the truly amazing thing that cannot be seen in the numbers is the genuine care and dedication to the organization by so many that are involved. The office staff believe in what they are doing and are dedicated to making the programs top-notch. The coaches are energetic, involved and they truly care about the success of the students. The students are engaged, motivated and excited. It is an inspiring group to be around!
Just as several microfinancing charities have proven that individuals can lift themselves out of poverty if they are given the power to do so, Let's Get Ready has proven that high school students can do the same when given the appropriate resources.
I became aware of Let's Get Ready when I began helping my oldest son with the college admissions process about 7 years ago. Living in a suburb with a very good public school system, we were fortunate to have all the resources we needed to navigate a process which is daunting, complicated and very competitive. After attending a small local fundraising event for Let's Get Ready and meeting some of the motivated, bright students who had gone through the program, had subsequently gone off to college and were on a trajectory that would bring them success in their lives, I was drawn to the program and wanted to help. I had never really thought about the fact that low-income students typically apply to college at a great disadvantage socially and economically - if they apply at all.
Let's Get Ready is an innovative program that expands college access for motivated, low-income students by offering free intensive SAT preparation and college admissions counseling. Volunteer college students are trained as tutors and mentors, who provide the SAT instruction and college admissions guidance along with the encouragement and inspiration students need to succeed. Best of all, many of the high school students who attend Let’s Get Ready become program volunteer coaches (tutors) and site directors when they enter college.
Seeing the program in action is exhilerating. Many of the students come from broken homes, live in dangerous neighborhoods, travel great distances to come to the program and nevertheless are enthusiastic and grateful for the preparation they receive. The coaches are excited to work with these students and form lasting bonds with them. And because coaches and students are so close in age, they relate to each other in a way that is particularly impactful and meaningful to all parties involved.
In addition to receiving SAT test instruction which includes lessons in math, critical reading and essay writing, the students are helped with every step of the college admisssions process. They recieve help with college selection , college essays and also with filling out financial aid forms and obtaining scholarship money.
Being on the board, I have had the opportunity to meet several of the high school administrators and community organization partners with which Let's Get Ready runs its programs. They all have the highest praises for the program and contend that not only are more students attending college, but many are attending reach schools they never would have considered had it not been for their participation in the program.
The statistics confirm Let's Get Ready's success. Scores increase on average by 110 points, applications are completed on time, fafsa forms are filled out by deadline and 93% of our program participants go directly to college after graduatiing high school. Further many of the students come back to the program as coaches and some have even started programs on the campuses of the colleges they attend.
Let's Get Ready has changed the lives of over 10,000 high school students and offered a rewarding and life changing volunteer opportunity to over 4,500 college students since it's founding in 1998. And, it is fitting to state here that it was founded by a Harvard undergrad who realized that low -income high school stdents lacked the critical resources and supports that she had when applying to college. This is why the model works so beautifully. It was conceived by someone who had just gone through the process herself.
In summary, Lets Get Ready is the most cost-efficient and effective program out there. It offers both instruction and mentoring that helps large numbers of students change their lives and acheive their dreams of a college eduation in a way that no other exisiting program can.
I work as a grant maker. I was introduced to Lets Get Ready through a typical grant review process and had no prior knowledge of or connection to the organization. Lets Get Ready provides college access services to under-served students; typically those on free or reduced lunch programs , no prior family having attended college, etc. The programs for high school juniors and seniors are run by college students in a win/win scenario. The high school students see the possibilities modeled by their peers and watch their scores climb, and the college students have rewarding service experiences.
At my grant review I met with a Mount Holyoke College student who started the Lets Get Ready program there on her own initiative. She was incredibly passionate and energetic about her experience. So was the Holyoke (MA) public school system, which lacks the funding to otherwise serve these students. Also beaming at my grant review was the college's community affairs office. And the results were right there in the numbers: thousands of students in the margins put on the college track; lengthy waiting lists of college students wanting to tutor and volunteer; consistently increased SAT scores; terrific acceptance and matriculation data.
I have personally reviewed hundreds of grants, and as a distribution committee member, sat in on meetings considering many hundreds reviewed by others over more than ten years. Lets Get Ready is the only organization I went back to after my funding recommendation specifically to volunteer my time and energies for the organization. That's how strongly I felt about the positive impact Lets Get Ready has on the lives of the young adults they serve