StuyPrep for Underserved Middle Schoolers

StuyPrep is an alumni initiative founded by Kent Kim ’05 and Christina Alfonso ’01 to assist middle school students from underrepresented communities in NYC gain admission to Stuyvesant and other NYC specialized high schools. We seek to empower historically underprivileged middle school students with increased access to educational opportunities, tutoring, and awareness of the specialized high school network. Students are typically recommended for the program by their school counselors, but it is not required, and voluntarily opt-in to the StuyPrep program, which is fully underwritten by the Stuyvesant High School Alumni Association.

StuyPrep provides tutoring and preparation for the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) – currently the only criterion for admission to the Specialized High Schools – exclusively to students who otherwise could not afford the cost of tutoring. If you are a student in need, or know of a student that could benefit from our program, please send us an application here.

We envision Stuyvesant High School as a beacon of hope for all NYC students seeking an incomparable educational experience in STEM, the Arts and Humanities, and more.

As we know, going to schools like Stuyvesant can provide students with confidence, a stellar education, and future leadership opportunities. Unfortunately, low participation rates in the SHSAT Entrance Exam are a direct factor in the underrepresentation of Black and Latinx students in the specialized high schools, with only one out of five students from these communities taking the test. The program, which is entirely free to participating students, aims to widen the funnel of bright, diverse students to the City’s specialized high schools.


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The Program

StuyPrep combines elements of traditional test prep, mentoring, and community building. From its start in 2016, we have served over 500 middle school students.

Our program generally provides 7th-Graders with virtual and onsite test preparation for the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT), on a weekly basis, for 180-minute sessions, beginning in May through the first week of November in the lead up to the SHSAT – which is available to all 8th-Graders. Classes focus on content, test-taking strategies and time management needed to excel on the exam and include both independent and group activities.

The curriculum teaches test-taking strategies and test-specific skills and content necessary for success on the SHSAT across the Math and ELA sections. In the Math section, students are taught to minimize small calculation errors and utilize the most efficient methods to solve difficult problems in digestible steps. For the reading comprehension section, students learn effective strategies such as reading questions first, annotating and how to read faster. Students are also taught to identify answer traps and question types through practice. Lessons help students master not just the understanding of the strategies but, more importantly, knowing when and how to use them. This approach allows students to build skills and content knowledge gradually and can help them improve their confidence, leading to increased motivation. Students will have homework from week to week and take assessments from time to time to gauge their progress. Full length proctored mock exams will be administered throughout the program.

StuyPrep is committed to providing students with a positive and supportive learning environment that fosters personal, social, and academic growth. We have worked with the Princeton Review, Kaplan, Kweller Prep, Bee Tutored, CAS Prep, Five Points Learning, and Helicon to provide an expert group of instructors. In addition to the weekly sessions, students and their parents/guardians can connect with our StuyPrep volunteers, composed of Stuyvesant students and alumni, about their individual experiences at Stuyvesant and personal perspective on why Stuyvesant can make a difference in their lives. Students also regularly visit the building to gain insight into our many offerings.

Please consider supporting StuyPrep today!


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Make A Gift Today

2024 Edition

For the 2024 program StuyPrep is serving 7th- and 8th-graders from across NYC by welcoming 75 students (up from 25 the prior year) to participate in free SHSAT prep, which begins in May 2024 and culminates with the SHSAT in November. We strongly believe that by increasing awareness, and access to education and other preparatory skills, that together we will empower historically underserved middle school children and increase diversity at the specialized high schools.

We want Stuyvesant, and more broadly the specialized high schools, to be a more accessible and attractive alternative for historically marginalized communities. We are also looking at ways to support our current Black, Indigenous, and Latinx students of color with more positive and engaging initiatives in partnership with the Stuyvesant faculty and administration.