Education and Academic Support! / College Readiness and Retention

Goddard Riverside – The Options Center

The foundation’s 2016 grant to the Options Center addresses the need to increase the number of trained college counselors in New York City public high schools. Of the approximately 400 master’s degree programs in school counseling nationwide, only about 10 percent offer coursework in college advisement. None focus on underrepresented populations and college training is not a requirement for school counselor licensure in New York City. The Options Institute (the training arm of the Options Center), provides in-depth professional development for counselors to develop college counseling expertise. The Options Center, which also operates a direct service student program, was formed specifically in service of students who are underrepresented in college and who have a strong need for support in the college application, transition, and degree completion process that is not otherwise met through high school counselors or family members.

Current funding from the Heckscher Foundation supports capacity building for the Options Institute. Funding also supports expanded outreach to high school college guidance counselors citywide to inform them about the “Ask an Advisor” service. This virtual advising service has the potential to scale to serve substantially greater numbers of college counseling staff who are working with large caseloads of 11th and 12th grade students.