StuyPrep is an initiative that seeks to help students from underrepresented neighborhoods of New York City gain admission to the specialized high schools. These students voluntarily opted into the StuyPrep program, which is driven by the Alumni Association under the guidance and support of Kent Kim ’05 and Director Christina Alfonso ’01, who also serves as the Chair of our Diversity Committee.
On Saturday mornings for four hours for 12 weeks, students were bused to Stuyvesant High School and were instructed in how to prepare for the SHSAT. We worked with the Princeton Review to provide a more formal SHSAT class, and also paired each student with a “coach.” All of the coaches were either current Stuyvesant students or alumni. In between the weekly meetings were countless phone calls, FaceTime/Skype sessions, and e-mails between our StuyPrep volunteers and the students or their parents. The students have taken practice exams and have heard from various StuyAlumni, speaking about their individual experiences at Stuyvesant and personal perspective on why Stuyvesant should be the school to aim for.
StuyPrep combines elements of traditional test prep, traditional mentoring, and outreach. What other SHSAT program provides every single participant with the opportunity to work personally with a person who has already conquered the SHSAT?
We are so proud of this program. Moving forward, we would like to sponsor student engagement starting in March of 7th grade and triple the size of the program to 100 students for next year. Please consider supporting the General Fund for StuyPrep today!
The current StuyPrep student participants will be taking the SHSAT exam on October 22 and 23, and we’ll know the final results sometime early in 2017. The exam is offered on three different days with two days for 8th graders and one day for freshmen who want to transfer to a specialized high school. Almost 27,000 students took the exam in 2015 with 950 acceptances at Stuyvesant, the statistics make getting into a specialized high school, particularly Stuyvesant, more competitive than some Ivy League colleges.
Over the course of 12 weeks, the average attendance for the middle school students was 94%, which is evidence of their dedication and that of their parents.
The students took a diagnostic exam prior to the start of the program, and we administered a timed, full-length SHSAT in the second to last week of the program. Between the pre-program test and our last practice exam, the average score increased 13 points (out of 100). We had two students increase their scores by 30 or more points, and another six students that increased their scores by 20 or more points.
Had the pre-program diagnostic been the actual SHSAT, only one student would have qualified for any of the specialized high schools. If our last practice exam is an indication, seven or eight of the children would have gotten into a specialized high school, and there are several more that are very close at making it into Brooklyn Tech. This includes five students for whom Stuyvesant is a realistic goal if they continue working hard until October 22nd.
To read more about StuyPrep, click here.