Spring Forward with Let`s Get Ready
Providence Spring 2013
Thanks to hard work and invaluable support from
Let’s Get Ready, Donald Brennan is off to Brown
University in the fall of 2014. He will be the first
in his family of four to attend college! He received
his early decision acceptance letter in December
and a month later finalized his placement with
an incredible financial aid package. Donald said “I
can’t wait to go to Brown, and to become a Coach
in the Providence LGR program!”
At Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School in Providence,
Donald was motivated to do his best and earn
good grades. “My biggest worries were the SATs
and my college essays. Thankfully, with the
spectacular help I received at Let’s Get Ready, my
SAT scores increased 500 points and I gained the
confidence to apply to more selective institutions.
My Coaches recommended colleges they thought
I should consider, and showed me how to get the
best financial aid package.”
Like many Let’s Get Ready success stories, Donald
also received the help he needed with his application essays. “My Coaches taught me how to
write a personal statement. This was daunting for
me because I considered myself a boring person.
I didn’t know what to tell colleges that wasn’t
already on my application. My Coaches suggested
different approaches to take when writing
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I listened with hopeful enthusiasm as College Board
President David Coleman announced sweeping
changes to the SAT, including efforts to help
low-income high school students gain admission
to college. The College Board’s moves represent
important steps in the right direction, but small
ones in our nation’s journey to narrow its huge
There is almost a 400 point score gap on the
SAT between the richest and poorest students,
according to a 2013 score report published by the College Board. Students with
low SAT scores and GPAs attend four-year universities at much lower rates than their
higher income peers, and are rarely admitted to selective private universities which
often offer more robust financial aid.
Coleman clearly understands the college admissions field and how tilted it is in favor
of children of affluent families who attend the best schools and then have access to
countless hours of individualized and expensive SAT tutoring. Test scores today don’t
reflect knowledge or aptitude -- they are a badge of family income.
The College Board’s new partnership with Khan Academy seeks to address this
inequity by offering free SAT practice and tutorials online. This is a refreshing move.
However, we also know that technology is not a panacea.
Many low-income students and the schools they attend do not have easy access
to high speed Internet service or computer labs. Some students are working parttime. Others lack college role models or basic information about the admissions
and financial aid processes. But, blend Khan’s training materials with passionate and
dedicated college students who are there to help and you’ll see an in-class experience
that produces even better results than just an online course. With personalized
attention from college students who have just gone through the college admissions
process, Let’s Get Ready students feel special and uniquely empowered.
The SAT’s new emphasis on the essential skills students need to succeed in higher
education should also be lauded. Of course, it remains to be seen how this new test
pans out, but Coleman deserves credit for trying to tie the test to what’s required in
college. We second that effort with a new College Success Initiative to ensure college
graduation -- not just acceptance or attendance.
Substantial progress toward leveling the SAT playing field requires a multitude of
bold strategies and interventions. We applaud the moves taken by the College Board
but know there is much more to do.
continued next page
“A great part of my Let’s Get Ready experience was that I was able to learn the ropes
from college students. It was helpful and
encouraging to hear about their college
application experiences and about college life
at Brown. By the time I applied to Brown, I
knew the school inside and out.”
Looking forward to next year with a bit
of apprehension, Donald remarked, “I am
challenging myself to the fullest. Let’s Get
Ready has helped me prepare by improving
my writing, testing, public speaking, and the
critical thinking abilities that I believe will all
be necessary in college.”
President Obama recently said we must “restore the essential promise of opportunity
and upward mobility that is at the heart of America.” At its root, the SAT was created
as a way for students to prove they were college-ready regardless of their background
or what high school they attended. We’d like to see that mission fully restored.
Let’s Get Ready is so proud of Donald and
wishes him great success!
Spring Programs in Full Bloom
It is a record-smashing spring term for Let’s Get Ready. In eight
states, from rural towns in Maine and New Hampshire to Boston,
NYC and Philadelphia, we are running 33 programs that are
serving over 1,400 high school students with the engagement
of over 550 college Coaches. We have added 10 new partners
to the Let’s Get Ready family. New partners include Student
Sponsor Partners (NY), Bronx Academy of Letters (NY), School
for Law, Justice and Government (NY), YMCA of Greater New
York (NY), BUILD (MA), Red Sox Scholars (MA), Colby College
(ME), Waterville High School (ME) and Stevens High School (NH).
If you or someone you know is interested in seeing a program
first hand we are happy to arrange a site visit. Please contact
Carolyn Frischer for details.
Despite a polar vortex, we kept our students and alumni in
college busy this past January with two workshops! Financial
Aid Workshops were held in Boston, NYC, and Westchester,
where students and their families received a step-by-step
walk through of financial aid forms and worked one-on-one
with Let’s Get Ready staff and financial aid professionals on
completing their forms. Special thanks to the representatives
from uAspire for the expert assistance in Boston.
Students and adult volunteers came together on a cold January
night for NYC’s Alumni Career Workshop. Alumni received oneon-one resume critiques and participated in mock interviews.
Afterwards, alumni were able to test out their networking skills
with professionals from multiple industries. The evening was
made possible and hosted by Morgan Stanley!
College Admission Acceptances!
Over 2,500 Let’s Get Ready students are graduating from high school this year
and nothing keeps us more inspired than when we begin hearing what colleges
our students are getting into. We are excited to share two early acceptances with
you. Boston’s own Maha Korikchi and Bestine Cong received their early decision
acceptances to Bucknell University. Maha and Bestine continue to impress as
they have also been chosen as POSSE scholars, receiving four year, full tuition
scholarships and additional support.
Maha reflects on how Let’s Get Ready has motivated and changed her:
“My Coaches are the most encouraging and helpful people that I have ever met.
Without them, I would not be where I am today. Not only did they help with the
college application process, but they also helped me with the POSSE application and
supported me every step of the way. It is an amazing feeling to know that I have a
group of people who believe in me. “
Save the Date
Mark your calendars for Let’s Get Ready’s 8th Annual Gala on Thursday, May
15, 2014 at Pier 60 (Chelsea Piers) in New York City. This year we are proud to
honor Nicholas E. Billotti, Chairman of Turner International. His son, Michael, is a
college Coach with our Fordham program. Lynda Baquero, NBC Correspondent,
will be returning as our Master of Ceremonies. More details and how to contribute
can be found here. We hope you can join us for what promises to be an inspiring
and entertaining evening.
Meet the newest Let’s Get Ready staff!
We are excited to introduce Daniel Brewer, our new National Director of External Affairs, who will be working out of our national
office in New York. This new position will involve fundraising and developing our external communications - strengthening Let’s
Get Ready and helping us to grow.
We are also lucky to welcome new Let’s Get Ready Program staff members</a>. In our New York Office, Marissa Muñoz has joined
as our new Mid-Atlantic Program Director along with Reynold Graham, Program Manager and Izzy Alteon, Program Associate. In
Boston, Loris Toribio, a former Lawrence Site Director, is also working as a Program Manager.
We know you will join us in welcoming these wonderful additions to Let’s Get Ready.
Many thanks to our newest funders this season. We appreciate your generosity:
Foundation for MetroWest
Standard Life Investments
Middlesex Savings Bank
The Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation
About Let’s Get Ready
Let’s Get Ready provides low-income high school students
with free SAT preparation, admissions counseling and
other support services needed to gain admission to and
graduate from college. Trained college student volunteers
deliver these services and offer mentoring, inspiration and
Lauri Novick, Executive Director
Rachel Cleaver, Director of Programs
Brian Dever, Mid Atlantic Regional Director
Nakia Navarro, New England Regional Director
Daniel Brewer, National Director of External Affairs
Bindi Patel, College Success Director
Alvaro Arias, Finance and Operations Manager
Lindsey Ferris, New England Development Manager
Carolyn Frischer, Development Manager
Marissa Muñoz, Mid Atlantic Program Director
John Driscoll, New England Program Associate
Ryan McCarthy, New England Program Manager
Molly Reardon, Program Manager
Nora Walsh-DeVries, Program Manager
Reynold Graham, Program Manager
Izzy Alteon, Program Associate
Steve Waniak, New England Program Manager
Loris Toribio, New England Program Manager
Vinnie Myles, New England Development Associate
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89 South St., Ste. 401
Boston, MA 02111
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