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February 2008

Girls Rule...Prepping for College

Girls Rule
Students from the Young Women's Leadership Foundation’s Bronx school on a college visit.

People may debate the value of single-sex schools, but it's hard to argue with success.

Ten years ago, the Young Women's Leadership Foundation, with the New York City Department of Education, opened the first all-girls public school for grades 7 through 12, located in East Harlem. For the last seven years, every graduate has gone to college. The school's focus on college preparation begins in the 7th grade and includes a counseling program called CollegeBound, which is offered to 10th through 12th graders.

Under a full-time college specialist, tutors help students study for Regents and SAT exams, arrange college visits, and help with applications. Once in college, they get online support, a campus visit by an alumnae coordinator, and referrals to internships and jobs. In 2004, the Foundation opened an all-girls school in the Bronx, the following year in Jamaica, and last year in Astoria. In the Bronx and Jamaica, more than 80 percent of the students are black and Hispanic, and nearly 25 percent of the students in Astoria are Asian. Although all three schools offer top-notch academic classes, none has CollegeBound. With our three-year, $150,000 grant, the program will be added to the schools, helping girls who face enormous challenges succeed.

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