SEO Scholars Program welcomes Class of 2014

Sponsors for Educational Opportunity held its orientation for its Class of 2014 Scholars Program. Group of 200 9th and 10th grade students and their parents were given an overview of what will be expected of SEO, parents and students over the next years of high school. The event was photographed for SEO by

SEO Scholars Program Orientation for the Class of 2014 at Credit Suisse on January 29, 2011. Students and their parents receive an overview of the program expectations from the students, parents and SEO. (Jeffrey Holmes/JeffreyHolmes.com)
SEO Scholars Program Orientation for the Class of 2014 at Credit Suisse on January 29, 2011. Students and their parents receive an overview of the program expectations from the students, parents and SEO.

Jeffrey Holmes Photography, a professional New York photographer is a creative corporate event photographer. SEO engages him as their photographer for events and event photography New York.

The Scholars Program, an out-of-school academic enrichment program, and the founding program of SEO, helps motivated students of color from New York City public high schools matriculate and succeed at the most competitive colleges in the country.

Sponsors for Educational Opportunity students photo by photographer Jeffrey Holmes

Sponsors for Educational Opportunity photographed by Jeffrey Holmes, event photographer

Admissions: Students applying to the Scholars Program must submit an application form, essays, the most recent high school report card or transcript and a teacher recommendation. A personal interview is also required.

Who SEO Serves
The SEO Scholars Program works with students who have the capacity for high achievement, yet have not had the opportunity to attend a school where they receive the academic preparation needed for competitive college admissions and success.  Our analysis of students entering New York City high schools indicates that approximately 25,000 – 28,000 ninth grade students meet our admissions criteria and could benefit from the curriculum each year.

SEO recruits students from our affiliate schools and through a city-wide outreach effort.  In the 2010-11 program year, the Scholars Program will serve 340 high school students and 206 college students. Nearly 60% of our high school students are from households where the annual family income is less than $33,000.

Program Impact: The SEO Scholars Program is pursuing a new paradigm in Out-of-School Time (OST) education – a paradigm that centers on intensive year-round academic preparation in order to ensure that underserved New York City public high school students are truly college-ready.

The program is having a significant impact on the high school grades, SAT scores and college-readiness of our students.  We believe the success of our high school graduating Class of 2010 demonstrates the effectiveness of the program:

  • Ninety-three percent of the Class of 2010 (61 students) are attending a college ranked Most, Highly or Very Competitive by Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges.
  • These colleges include Babson College, Cornell University, Mount Holyok College, University of Notre Dame, Wesleyan University and Williams College.
  • Scholars earned more than $1.5 million in scholarships and awards for their first year of college.
  • Two SEO Scholars were winners of the Gates Millennium Scholarship.
  • Five Scholars were awarded full, four-year tuition scholarships through the Posse Foundation.
  • Two Scholars were Horatio Alger Scholarship winners and will receive a $20,000 scholarship annually.
  • A Scholar was one of five students nationally to be awarded the Leonore Annenberg College Scholarship, covering tuition and fees, room and board, books, a laptop and a modest stipend.

Scholars Program students have also closed the academic achievement gap with their peers nationally.  These results are based on comparing the SAT scores of Class of 2009 students in the U.S. that have similar high school GPAs.  In addition, the Scholars Program has eliminated the gap between Black SEO high school seniors and their White counterparts at every GPA level.  Nationwide, Black students typically score 180-300 points less on the SAT than White students at all GPA levels.  This difference is an example of an achievement gap that is regularly cited in the media.

>>View charts showing SEO Scholars’ achievement on the SATs.

After high school, the ongoing personal guidance that Scholars receive through the College Scholars Program is helping students make a sucessful transition to life on campus.  Throughout their college years, SEO services help students sustain their academic performance, explore career fields with experienced professionals and participate in enriching internships.

  • The average cumulative GPA of SEO College Scholars participating in the program is 3.12 as of the fall 2010 semester.
  • For the high school Class of 2007, 89% of students report that they are graduating from college on time in 2011.
  • In 2010, SEO assisted college students in securing 87 summer internships with a variety of organizations, including AXA Advisors, Brown University, Discovery Communications, General Electric, HBO, Ketchum PR, the Lymphoma Research Foundation, Montefiore Medical Center, the NYC Department of Transportation, the New York Women’s Foundation, Sirius XM Radio, and the U.S. Department of State.

>> Listen to SEO Scholars share their program experiences and aspirations.

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