New Jersey SEEDS Launches New Program to Prepare Students for College Success

Newark, NJ—April 8, 2015—New Jersey SEEDS announced today the launch of the College Scholars Program, a 17-month academic immersion experience designed to prepare and place top-performing, low-income students from comprehensive high schools into highly selective colleges with sufficient financial aid.

“This month, high school seniors throughout the country will receive college notifications, but for many of the highest-achieving, low-income students, a college education is not in their future,” explains SEEDS President Ronni Denes. “New Jersey SEEDS’ College Scholars Program is a determined response to a pressing local, regional and national need. The data show that the top low-income students may enroll in a four-year college, but the vast majority of these students will not apply to a single selective college or university, which are exactly the schools with the resources to enable them to complete their educations. It is our goal to ensure that exceptional students achieve advanced academic success regardless of their economic status.”

SEEDS builds upon the success of its current academic programs – Scholars, Young Scholars and College Preparatory – to offer the next generation of SEEDS students an academic leap forward. The College Scholars Program will bring the proven techniques developed in SEEDS’ College Preparatory Program (CPP) to three times as many students in a wider geographic area. CPP was developed to expand the academic proficiency and college awareness of students in select public high schools with the goal of increasing the number of students who aspire to, enter and graduate from competitive colleges. Ninety-eight percent of CPP graduates enrolled in college and today, 94 percent of them are sophomores, juniors and seniors on track to graduate, with the first bachelor’s degrees to be conferred this spring.

College Scholars is a 17-month program that consists of academic classes each Saturday during the spring of students’ eleventh-grade year, and throughout twelfth grade. In addition, during the summer before their senior year in high school, students will participate in a three-week residency on a college campus. College Scholars will be exposed to rigorous academics, including language arts, mathematics, writing, science and test preparation, in addition to workshops designed to develop college survival skills. With the assistance of SEEDS, students will undertake a comprehensive college search, complete with campus tours, visits from college representatives, counseling, mentoring, and fly-in weekend applications. At the same time, SEEDS will work with each College Scholar to complete college applications, develop compelling essays and secure the maximum available financial aid.

“SEEDS scholars are exceptionally committed to their educations,” continues Denes. “But making sure that our students enroll in college is not enough. A unique facet of the College Scholars Program is a resolute focus on persistence, which is as critical to successful outcomes for low-income students as preparation. SEEDS’ Guidance Department will provide personal, supportive services to our College Scholars graduates during their freshman and sophomore years in college.”

SEEDS is currently recruiting students for the first class of its College Scholars. Interested students must be in the top 10 percent of their high school class and must be nominated by their guidance counselors. Select students will then be invited to test with SEEDS and complete the admissions process. The first College Scholars classes will begin in February 2016.

About New Jersey SEEDS

Since its inception in 1992, New Jersey SEEDS has provided educational access for highly motivated, low-income students and created a viable path for them to achieve their full potential. SEEDS strives for a world in which young people’s initiative, creativity and intellect can flourish without regard to socioeconomic status. To date, more than 2,000 scholars have benefited from its programs. For more information, visit