Public Prep’s commitment to college graduation for every scholar goes beyond a caring, supportive school environment and rigorous academic preparation; our network of schools is preparing scholars, starting in PreK, with the skills and knowledge they must harness along the path to college completion. Each and every year, all students, guardians, and teachers sign a Commitment to College Completion Certificate, setting the goal of college completion for each scholar - beginning in Kindergarten.
The College Knowledge regimen includes explicit coursework to build the skills a college graduate needs, as well as experiences and opportunities that ensure scholars have a self-expectation of college completion that includes a demystified understanding of what will be required of them when applying to and attending college.
- A critical part of the Public Prep experience is yearly college visits. When our students see themselves in a college environment, it helps to demystify the college experience and increase the likelihood of college completion. During the 2014-15 school year, grade level teams took a total of 20 college visits across the network.
An annual College and Career Week provides intensive focus on college experiences from families, staff, and volunteers who mentor all scholars through thinking about college. In 2015, more than 150 professionals visited classrooms across the network.
Partnerships with programs at universities provide scholars access to rigorous programming with other college-bound peers while living and learning on college campuses. In 2014-15, a total of 65 students attended programs at the United States Naval Academy Summer STEM Program, Cornell University, West Point, and the year-round STEM Middle School Initiative at the High School of Math, Science, and Engineering at City College.
- Public Prep matches annual family contributions of $50 to every elementary and middle school scholar with a NY529 college savings account. During the 2014-15 school year, 74 families opened new accounts.
- Stephens College, the second-oldest women’s college in the country, announced that for the first time in its 179 year history, it will offer a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to a scholar from Girls Prep Lower East Side Middle. Eligible students must be active alumnae, earn the Presidential Volunteer Award, maintain a B average in high school, and commit to mentoring Girls Prep scholars. Click here to read more.
- College Knowledge curriculum at all grade levels, starting in Pre-K, provides students with information and strategies necessary to plan for college by building time management, goal-setting, decision-making, and other skills critical to success.
- Middle school students prepare for the high school application process in weekly College Knowledge classes that provide more in-depth preparation for the path to college graduation including practice with interviewing, resume-building workshops, essay writing, and other requisite skills. 2016 also marks the fourth consecutive year in which 100% of the Girls Prep 8th grade graduating scholars were accepted into high-quality, "right-fit" college-prep high schools.
- School-wide celebrations of achievements and character traits critical for college graduation are a regular part of the school calendar, and College Knowledge curriculum clearly aligns these achievements to scholar goals.
- Students participate in visits to high-performing public and elite private high schools for student-led tours, panel discussions, classroom observations, and informal interaction on campus with high school students.
- Each scholar and her family receive close coaching and support as they navigate the high school application and admissions process, including guided research on high school options, school visits, and scholarship application support.
- Girls Prep has become one of the premier feeder schools to leadership development programs that place scholars in outstanding private high schools. These programs include Prep for Prep, TEAK, Breakthrough, Oliver Scholars and A Better Chance.