iMentor's HEOP college fair brings together students and representatives from private colleges

As college application season got underway, iMentor students and mentors from across New York City attended our HEOP Fair on Thursday, November 15, meeting with representatives from more than a dozen private colleges in New York State and learning about the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP).

While many college fairs have a broad focus, this event aimed to help our students gain a path to higher education via HEOP, a program that serves New York State resident students who have the desire to attend a postsecondary educational institution but face economic and academic challenges. At the fair, students and mentors spoke with representatives from schools including Barnard College, New York University, and Paul Smith’s College, asking questions about applications processes, academic programs, and life on campus.

“This is a different model than most college fairs, and we like it because students have the opportunity to engage with reps more intimately in small group settings, and reps can go into greater detail about the HEOP experience at their colleges,” said Annie Forman, iMentor’s associate director of New York City Partnerships. The fair took place at the Urban Assembly School of Business for Young Women, which became an iMentor partner school in 2017 (see “Who run the world? Girls!”).

“Reps praised our students for asking thoughtful questions about HEOP benefits and campus culture, and many of our students came away excited to apply to some great private colleges to balance out their college lists,” said Forman.

For students who meet eligibility requirements and accept an offer of admission, HEOP offers support that may include academic advising, tutoring, summer programs, and help with fees not covered by financial aid, not to mention a cohort of fellow HEOP scholars.

These extra layers of support help our mentees persist in college and graduate on time, according to Forman. And the result? HEOP students boast a 59 percent graduation rate, compared to the national average of 52 percent for students at four-year institutions (ACT, 2008).

To learn more about opportunity programs, keep an eye out for our first CUNY Opportunity Programs fair this spring.