NJ SEEDS and College Scholars Program

Newark-based non-profit changes lives and keeps getting better with NJ SEEDS.

NJ SEEDS brings educational opportunities to New Jersey students.

nj seds
Photo courtesy of NJ SEEDS.

Since 1992, New Jersey SEEDS has transformed the lives of high-achieving students from low-income families. Via outstanding educational support, this group has activated a future for those brilliant young people who needed more than what their public school system could provide. The coalition is a privately funded, statewide, nonprofit organization. Their mission is to provide motivated teenagers the knowledge, skills and support they need to succeed at the nation’s finest schools and colleges. Within their year of inception in 1992, they have had over 2,000 students graduated from SEEDS’ Scholars, Young Scholars and College Preparatory programs. They have served nearly 900 students each year through their education programs or their guidance program, where they receive support from SEEDS as well. 

Headquartered in Newark, SEEDS serves the greater Newark area as well as the entire state of New Jersey. The nonprofit runs four major programs designed to build critical thinking and knowledge in children as early as fourth grade. The Scholars, Young Scholars, College Preparatory and College Scholars programs are built for each student’s unique situation and prepares them for the rigorous challenges that arise with higher education. Offering courses through the summer and on weekends, SEEDS offers the guidance deeply appreciated by thousands of eager, hungry minds.

The Executive Director of SEEDS, John F. Castano, is most excited about the latest addition to programming: The College Scholars. SEEDS launched the College Scholars Program in the spring of 2015 as a 17-month academic immersion experience. The program is designed to prepare and place top-performing, low-income students from public high schools into highly selective colleges with financial aid. After the first year, Castano is proud to announce that the program will continue.

“SEEDS began accepting nominations for the College Scholars Program in the fall of 2015, and welcomed its first class of 22 scholars into the SEEDS family from 11 high schools this past February. From February through June, students participated in academic classes with SEEDS on the campus of Drew University each Saturday, preparing for the ACT and beginning the process of researching potential colleges and universities,” stated the Executive Director.

The College Scholars also traveled to five schools in the Philadelphia region with SEEDS: Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College, Swarthmore College, the University of Pennsylvania and Villanova University. At these institutions they took part in SEEDS’ annual College Day, meeting representatives from nearly 50 colleges and universities across the country.

The next stage of the College Scholars experience included a taste of the real deal. Thrilled youngsters enjoyed a three-week residential session at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Participants were enrolled in a few college-like courses and were able to engage in sports and other activities on campus. In addition to touring a few nearby universities, the SEEDS students honed their personal statements for their individual college application processes. After their three-week residency, the students returned home to tackle their college lists and applications alongside their parents and the SEEDS staff.

NJ SEEDS will continue to offer a selection of services for those students that qualify for their programming. The organization is currently accepting nominations for the next class of College Scholars. In order to be nominated by a high school guidance counselor, students must: have completed 10th grade by June 2016; attend one of the Eligible College Scholars high schools; be enrolled in the most rigorous coursework offered, including completion of Algebra I and Geometry by the end of 10th grade; be in the top 10 percent of their class; be U.S. citizens or permanent residents; meet SEEDS’ income requirements; and want to attend a highly selective four-year college or university. To learn more about the College Scholars Program, contact a member of SEEDS’ admissions department at admissions@njseeds.org.  

To donate or learn more about NJ SEEDS, visit their official website at njseeds.org. The organization hosts a variety of fundraisers and events throughout the year. To read on, please check out their online calendar.

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