Program helps students get into college

July 30, 2008 6:01:52 PM PDT
Many children from low-income families may not get the chance to go to college because it costs too much. Others don't get into the school of their choice because they don't ace the application process, but help does exist.

Jonathan Grima is a sophomore at the University of Rochester. His good grades helped to get him accepted, but he needed financial help to keep him there.

Fortunately, it all worked out. Jonathan got a number of scholarships and financial aid with the help of the Goddard Riverside Options Program in Manhattan.

"It really helped out my family. I don't really have to pay a lot of money for college, which is great," he said.

The Options program is free. It also provides one-to-one counseling to help kids navigate the complicated application process.

Shawnell Campbell is about to start applying to colleges. Options has been helping find a school that will be the right fit.

"I'm trying to dwindle down my list of fifty to an actual good size range. I know schools I'm going to get into, schools I'm reaching for and school I can get into, but I'm not really sure," Campbell said.

"Any young person at a public or parochial school who walks in the door is eligible, however we do tend to work with those youngsters who do not have other opportunities getting help with their college process," said Stephan Russo of the Goddard Riverside Community Center.

This year, Options has helped more than 200 teens realize their college dreams. It also has given them a choice. Each child has received at least two letters of acceptance to schools all over the country.

"Our philosophy is every young person who finishes high school, whether through a GED or another kind of diploma, there is a college for you," Russo said.

Even kids who decide at the last minute to go to college or would like to transfer can walk in the door and get help.

It's not just limited to high schoolers. Adults who want to go to college or resume their education can also get help from the Options program.

You can learn more by visiting Goddard's website at