Strive for College Helps Low-Income Students

By Jeffrey Dong ‘16 and Corey Zoubkov ‘16 

Strive for College is a non-profit organization that helps low-income students enroll in college. The college process is lengthy and comes with a lot of barriers.

“In retrospect, the college application process was difficult but it gives students a glimpse at future graduate school, scholarship, internship and fellowship application processes,” said Michelle Gorbonosov, a co-president for Strive for College at Brooklyn College. “It’s challenging to balance 6-7 high school classes, extra-curricular activities, homework, sleep, friends and family while applying to college. However, it’s an important first step in learning how to manage your time. It’s still a very time consuming process that requires you to write, edit, and perfect many essays in a short amount of time. But it truly is good practice for the future.”

According to Strive for College’s website,, college graduates make nearly $1 million more than those with just a diploma or people that just went to high school in their life.

Strive for College is a program that mentors low-income students about the college process by having one-on-one sessions with students, either in person or online. This program was founded by Michael Carter. He believed that many intelligent, low-income students weren’t getting into colleges because of the lack of resources available to them and financial problems.

“As part of this program, we get to see these kids succeed and grow. Their smiles and happiness at the end of this process is the most rewarding aspect of being a mentor,” said Milana Sapozhnikov, the director of curriculum for Strive for College.

Strive for College has shown success in its methods, helping over 1,500 low-income high school students enroll in four year colleges. According to, Strive got 90% of their students enrolled in college, 77% enrolled in a four year college, and 36% enrolled without debt.

“After enrolling in the program, prepare for a series of ice breakers and Strive chants,” said Medina Mishiyeva, the director of relationships for Strive for College. “Prepare for a deep look into what you want from college, why you’re going to college, and what college even means to your mentor. Prepare to think about the different things you can focus on for your personal statements and looking at different summer internships to enrich your application. Also, prepare for a deeper understanding of the process that is before you and be less fearful of how long it can be.”

“I’m interested in joining the program because I don’t know much about the college process,” said Kieran Bissessar’16. “I want to learn more about college applications and I think this program is a great opportunity for me.”

The Strive for College program is still new to Midwood, so some students have not heard of the program yet.

“I did not know there was a program like this available to us,” said Raymond Li’16. “I would like to find out more about what the program offers and how it can help prepare me for the college process.”

Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch and have an average above 85 are qualified for the program. Applications are available in Room 134. They are due January 23.

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