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  • What is an SEO Scholar?

    At SEO, there is no “one” way to be a Scholar; it looks different for every individual, and we value the unique perspective each Scholar brings to our community. But in general, our Scholars share a love of learning, they have big goals for themselves, and they know that the kind of success they strive for means committing to their future starting in ninth grade.

  • How much does SEO Scholars cost?

    SEO Scholars is a free program! Everything we provide to our Scholars is free, including but not limited to academic classes, SAT prep, field trips, guest speaker sessions, Enrichment Programs (pre-college, study abroad, or internship), etc.

  • What kind of commitment does SEO Scholars require?

    SEO Scholars recognize that success in college means preparing in high school. As an SEO Scholar, you can expect to attend programming at the following times:

    • Saturday Academy: 8:30-4:30 3 Saturdays a month
    • Weekday Programming: 4:30-6:30 one afternoon a week
    • Summer Academy: 8:30-4:30 one month over the summer
  • What classes are offered?

    We concentrate on English Language Arts (Grammar, Critical Reading and Critical Writing) and Math. In the spring of junior year, all students attend free SAT Prep classes given by highly trained SAT prep instructors.

  • Why is there a summer commitment?

    20% of our academic programming is provided at each of two 5-week Summer Academies (between 9th and 10th grade, and 10th and 11th grade). As a result, Scholars experience the most academic growth in the summers and return to school primed for the next grade. It is also a crucial time for building relationships with fellow Scholars and staff, and provides meaningful college and career exposure opportunities as well.

  • How does SEO Scholars assess financial eligibility?

    Financial eligibility is assessed on a case by case basis. While financials are evaluated alongside all parts of each students’ application, SEO Scholars has an average income of $34,000 with generally no household income exceeding $80,000 per year.

  • Is there a parent/guardian participation requirement?

    Yes! This is an exciting journey, and we encourage parents to be as active as possible. This includes, but is not limited to participating in orientation, annual meetings, etc.

  • How is SEO Scholars different from other college access programs?

    If you are serious about going to college, it’s important to do your research into the different college access programs available to you. SEO Scholars differs from other programs in two major ways:

    • In high school
      • We provide an engaging and challenging college preparatory curriculum in addition to an array of other services, including SAT prep, college trips, college admissions advising, scholarship and financial aid services. This academic programming makes a huge difference to our Scholars’ success on the SAT and in college admissions. Our Scholars also enter college more ready to succeed.
    • In college
      • Our Scholars receive 1:1 ongoing support from a College Persistence Advisor through college graduation. This includes support with college adjustment, academic advising and career advising, internships, etc. Career readiness workshops are provided during college vacations.
      • Our outcomes demonstrate the success of this approach. 100% of SEO Scholars are admitted to college and 90% of SEO Scholars graduate, a rate higher than the national average for all college students (~60%) and dramatically higher than the average for low income students (20%).
  • Does SEO Scholars give college scholarships?

    No. We are committed to getting students academically prepared for college, which makes them more likely to earn admission to competitive schools and to earn financial awards like scholarships and grants. SEO Scholars assists students in navigating the college admissions, scholarship, and financial aid processes with the goal that they will attend a good college without incurring large debts. In the end, however, the student’s effort and commitment is what will determine their admission to colleges as well as their scholarships and/or financial aid packages

  • Where is SEO Scholars’ programming held?

    During the school year:

  • I am a rising 9th grader. How can I learn more about SEO Scholars San Francisco?

    Attend a presentation at your school. SEO Scholars will be visiting most SFUSD High Schools this fall. Email, text or call us to find out when we will be visiting your school.

    Contact information: LaziahBernstine, Recruitment & Program Coordinator



  • How do I apply to SEO Scholars?

    You can apply to SEO Scholars by clicking the link below. You will need to submit the following information:

    • Online Application
    • A copy of your grades
    • Income Verification (While we ask for income verification to be brought during interviews, we recommend that you turn this in now.)
  • When should I apply?

    As soon as possible! While the deadline for SEO Scholars San Francisco is December 15, we have spots for only 20-25 9th graders and look at applications in the order that we receive. We recommend you submit your application as soon as possible.

  • I am a rising 9th grader. How can I learn more about SEO Scholars?

    SEO Scholars will be visiting high schools across the city this fall. Email or call us to find out when we will be visiting your school. You can also check in with your guidance counselor to find out if there are any presentations scheduled or older Scholars at your school you can speak with.

    Contact information:

    Danapolie Brice



  • I already have excellent grades. Why do I need SEO Scholars?

    Nearly 80% of students in remedial courses in college had a high school GPA of ‘B’ or higher, according to Strong American Schools’ report, Diploma to Nowhere. This means that even the higher-performing public school students are not nearly as prepared as their counterparts in more affluent school districts for college. SEO Scholars concentrates on providing the academic enrichment that urban public school students need to be admitted to and graduate from competitive universities.

  • Am I eligible?

    New York City public high school students who are currently in the 9th grade in any of the 5 boroughs with a GPA of a 70% or 2.0 are eligible to apply. Please note that students attending private, parochial, specialized, or charter high schools with extended day and Saturday programs (e.g. KIPP and Uncommon Schools) are not eligible to apply.

  • Can undocumented students apply?

    Yes, undocumented students are welcome to apply to SEO Scholars. Undocumented scholars are given all of the same resources and services as other scholars.

    Students who are undocumented should feel safe revealing their citizenship status on the SEO Scholars application. This information will remain confidential and will only be shared with select staff on a need-to-know basis. College admissions staff will use this information to provide additional support throughout the college admissions process.

  • How does SEO Scholars choose students?

    We look for driven and eager students who are willing to put in the extra time and effort to succeed academically. In addition, we know that a college education can have the greatest long-term impact on lower income families. Therefore, we do not make admissions decisions based solely on income, but we do consider this factor in our deliberation process.

  • What does the application include?

    To apply to SEO Scholars you must submit an online application that includes:

    • A short writing sample
    • Your most recent grades
    • A teacher recommendation
    • Income verification
  • When should I apply?

    Our application opens at the beginning of September and closes on December 14th. As our application requires a teacher recommendation and financial documents, make sure to leave yourself plenty of time.

  • When will I know if I have been selected?

    We will reach out to students to schedule in-person interviews throughout the month of January. All students will be notified of their final status by mid-February.

  • Where is SEO Scholars Programming held?

    Saturday and Summer Academy are held at Baruch College and LIU Brooklyn.

    After-school programming is hosted by Richard R. Green High School, Leadership and Public Service High School, and the Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women.