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Mentoring Program Adds Extensive College Application Workshops

Since the launch of Stuyvesant’s Alumni Mentoring Program in 2015, the program has completed six semesters of mentoring, providing guidance and professional training to over 500 students and supplying over 400 hours of in-person programming. Entering its seventh semester, Program Director Eleonora Srugo ’04 wished to grow the Program and provide a more impactful experience for students than ever before. With its largest class of 160+ students and 80+ mentors, the Program’s seventh iteration is now a full-year program with new interactive workshops, cohort sessions, and additional supplementary activities such as corporate office visits and even a cooking class.

The program originally consisted of four cohort sessions followed by a series of industry panels, where the students learned how to craft resumes, market themselves in interviews, and develop a better understanding of career paths in different fields. But after several semesters of gathering feedback from the student mentees, Eleonora realized that the program should also provide more guidance and advice on the more immediate challenge for Stuyvesant students – the college application process they all go through in senior year.  

Over a hundred students attended the Essay Writing Workshop on November 10th.

Eleonora designed the College Application Workshops to be comprised of two four-hour sessions held on two Saturdays in November. The two-day sessions were attended by over a hundred students from the senior, junior, and sophomore class. On the first day, the students listened to presentations that gave tips on essay-writing and best practices on how to tackle each component of college applications. The students and mentors then broke out into small groups where they brainstormed and discussed topics and ideas for their personal essays.

On the second Saturday, students heard from 20+ alumni on their college experiences. The alumni were grouped into panels defined by geographic proximity, school size, public/private institutions, and curriculum focus. The alumni participants came from a wide cross-section of different schools and careers. They recounted their college selection process, shared the best (and worst) parts of their college experience, and gave frank advice to the current students. The workshop concluded by breaking out into small groups to edit the draft essays that students prepared.

Alumni shared their experiences during a College Panel on NYC Schools

Bill Weiss ’80 a mentor in the program for the past few years, took an active role in both days of the workshop. In addition to being a speaker on the panel for NYC schools, Bill co-led the session on essay best practices. He spent hours helping students brainstorm ideas for their essays and edited their first drafts a week later. “I love hearing the students’ stories and watching their ideas develop into essays. Occasionally, an essay will literally give me chills,” said Bill. When asked what motivates him to dedicate eight hours for two weekends volunteering for the Mentoring Program, Bill replied “Participating in the program is one of the most gratifying things I’ve ever done, because I can see the difference it makes. As with the rest of the program, the workshops impart important skills that aren’t taught in the classroom or at home.” Program Founder YanJie Hou ’06 could not agree more on the need for alumni guidance, “The vast majority of the Stuyvesant student body comes from immigrant families. For many, they have never been coached on the best ways to write compelling, memorable personal essay or how to prepare for college admissions interviews. The Mentoring Program hopes to capitalize on the experiences of our alumni network to narrow this knowledge gap and provide access to more opportunities for Stuyvesant’s hard-working students.”

An alumni mentor helping a student edit his college essay.

If you believe in the value and mission of the Mentoring Program, please donate to the Alumni Association’s General Fund! Your support allows us to provide the Mentoring Program to hundreds of students every year.