While I was tutoring chemistry at George Washington High School in Washington Heights, a student mentioned her wish to pursue a career in psychology. A few moments later, confronted by a chemistry problem involving redox reactions, the student suddenly confessed, “I hate science.” She was surprised to learn that psychology is itself a science, and more shocked when informed that most colleges require all students to complete a core curriculum, almost always including a year of the sciences.
In speaking to fellow tutors and others involved in the community, it became clear that this story was not an isolated incident. Our Washington Heights neighbors were not largely targeted by local colleges, are underrepresented at national college fairs, and, as a result, lack basic knowledge of the structure and demands of college. Consequently, students are caught unaware of how to adequately prepare for both admission into and success in college. In a world of increasing specialization, where job appointments are increasingly linked to higher education, perhaps nothing is more demoralizing to a student than a college rejection. But what demoralizes us bystanders is the realization that, with proper guidance, these students are capable of realizing their dreams and moving ahead in life at a college that matches their wants and needs. They simply need someone to step up for them, and that is where we come in.
College EDge, Inc. is an organization geared to granting underrepresented students an edge on attaining a post-secondary education via workshops, seminars, networking events, and mentorship programs. Coordinating events out of multiple university and high school campuses, our programs service students across the five boroughs of New York City. Past programs have included college fairs, and workshops on SAT prep, financial aid, and writing a personal statement. All events and programs are continually reevaluated and improved based on student and high school feedback, and organizational development meetings.
It is our sincere hope that College EDge, Inc. will lead to a significant increase in post-secondary education attainment rates in underrepresented communities. Pablo Picasso once said, “Action is the foundational key to all success.” Perhaps this program will prove to be the proverbial key; it is most certainly action.
Jonah Rubin, MD
College EDge, Inc.