SEO Scholars Announces National Expansion with a Partnership in North Carolina

Founded in 1963, SEO provides exceptional educational and career opportunities to talented and motivated young people from underserved and historically excluded communities. 

NEW YORK, NY – August 30, 2022 SEO Scholars, a free, eight-year program designed to close the academic and opportunity gap for motivated high school students, announces the launch of a national expansion to bring its acclaimed programming to students beyond its traditional markets of New York City and San Francisco.   

 “Since 1963, SEO has been preparing and propelling hard-working students to get to and through college.  SEO is thrilled to be expanding the impact of our Scholars program because while talent is everywhere, unfortunately, opportunity is not,” said William Goodloe, President & CEO of SEO. 

In 2022, SEO Scholars hired a new Head of Expansion, Jordan McFarlane-Beau, who earned his Doctor of Education in Leadership degree last year from the American College of Education and has built a career working with first-generation, low-income, and non-traditional students in high school and college. He shared that program expansion has been a long-term goal of SEO and is working with the first expansion partner, shift_ed, a non-profit organization that creates successful outcomes for students enrolled in North Carolina’s Guilford County School district, which includes Greensboro.     

Watch the SEO Scholar recruitment video for Guilford County students here.

To ensure SEO Scholars are admitted to competitive colleges and experience a rich and rewarding college education, the program begins in ninth grade and includes:

  • Rigorous academic instruction 
  • Quality mentorship 
  • Individualized advising 
  • Development of a powerful, lifelong network 

“Given our strong outcomes in New York City and San Francisco, expansion into North Carolina provides us with the opportunity to broaden our reach so that talented students get the education and opportunities they deserve,” said McFarlane-Beau.  

SEO has a track record of successful outcomes in New York and San Francisco.  Nationally, only 60% of college students graduate, while 90% of SEO Scholars graduate college. In 2022, 100% of SEO Scholars were accepted to four-year colleges and universities, 80% attended a school ranked as top-100 in U.S. News & World Report, and 85% are first-generation college students. There are more than 21,000 SEO alumni throughout the world and each year, the SEO Scholars program serves more than 2,100 students. 

“SEO adapted to the pandemic by shifting our curriculum online,” Goodloe said.  “It created the opportunity to look at new ways to engage students, partners, and school systems beyond New York City and San Francisco. We are excited to partner with shift_ed as the first step to national expansion.”   

An SEO and Guilford County partnership is a bold way to tip the scales in the direction of equity, says shift_ed CEO, Wendy Poteat. “By creating opportunities for education and career exploration, students see what they can do and who they can be. Their potential grows with every new experience, and their success accelerates success for our whole community.” 

shift_ed plans to open SEO Scholars registration on September 1. Candidate interviews will occur in January 2023, and the ninth-grade cohort will officially begin programming in late February. 

“We want our students to know that anything is possible,” says Poteat. “With a bold collaboration like this – it truly is.” 


About SEO  

SEO was founded in 1963 with a mission to create a more equitable society by providing exceptional educational and career opportunities to talented and motivated young people from underserved and historically excluded communities. For 60 years, SEO has been an innovator in education, mentorship, peer-to-peer support, the delivery of excellence, and the leveraging of diverse networks and communities to turn untapped potential into newfound greatness. Learn more at 

About shift_ed  

shift_ed partners with Guilford County Schools (GCS) to provide thousands of hours of tutoring, college prep and financial aid workshops, and career counseling to students. Thanks to generous community support, shift_ed has awarded more than $12.6 million to GCS graduates since 2016.  Learn more at