College Access Program

PAL’s College Access Program (CAP) is managed by Shakeia McPherson and is offered to high school juniors and seniors attending PAL youth centers. The program helps them overcome barriers to college access and positive youth development while gaining valuable career preparation through targeted, self-selected internships. CAP aims to not only encourage students to enroll in higher education but to prepare young people for success in school and the workplace, teaching lessons that participants will remember long after graduation.  Last year, CAP boasted an on-time graduation rate of 91%, which is significantly higher than the NYC rate of 74%.

New York City’s high school graduation and college enrollment rates have plateaued and flattened signaling persistent barriers to college access, especially for New York City’s lowest-income youth. For would-be first-generation college students, who make up the majority of youth attending PAL’s Teen Centers, parents are often unprepared to guide them through the complicated maze of college and financial aid applications that youth need to navigate the process.  Ninety-seven percent of all CAP seniors were admitted to higher education last year.

CAP prepares at-risk youth to achieve their dreams of higher education and meaningful careers. PAL will help youth complete high school ready to transition to college and career through academic support, college awareness, job skills, targeted internship/externships, and life skills workshops.

All activities are guided by PAL’s youth development philosophy which focuses on fostering positive relationships with peers and adult role models in a safe and nurturing after school setting.

Shakeia McPherson
College Access Program Director