Page 1 January 2011

‘Other Roads’ at ITC

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NY GEARUP at Yonkers takes on SU

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/ NY GEARUP, January 2011

STAFF Marissa Joy Mims Director

Caitlin Donnelly

Eagle Newspapers Editor

Carolyn Clark

NY GEARUP Media Editor

Message from the


Ana Maria Panaigua Latisha Lindo Reporters

Malea Perkins

NY GEARUP Office Coordinator

Luz Encarnacion

Outreach Coordinator

Contact us: Phone 443.7848 Twitter: NYGEARUP Facebook: NYGEARUP@ Syracuse University Radio: StepIt UP! on Power106.9 The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) is the state agency that has been designated by the Governor’s office to administer the NY GEARUP Program. Funding for NY GEARUP is provided by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. NY GEARUP at Syracuse University receives $567,000 in funding that is matched 100 percent by in-kind services for a total funding of $1,340,000. HESC helps people pay for college by providing a comprehensive range of financial aid services, including the Tuition Assistance Program, guaranteeing student loans, and administering the nationally recognized New York’s College Savings Plan. New York State is a leader in the national financial aid community, providing more grant money to college students than any other state.


anuary is the first month of Regents testing for the cohort during their senior year, and NY GEARUP has offered tutoring for students to prepare them for these exams. There are many students who still need to pass one or more Regents in order to graduate. There will be another opportunity for students to take the Regents during the school year in June, however, with one more test date in August. It has been challenging to raise a sense of urgency in students about the Regents exams. We have developed a media campaign with our partner, Clear Channel, targeting both parents and students. Our message is simple: Get focused so you can pass your Regents exams, because time is running out. Last month we had our first

“Other Roads Workshop” at the Institute of Technology. Students heard an inspirational message from Caly Givens, a 2003 graduate of Corcoran High School, who participate in the On Point for College program and went on to successfully complete college despite many personal challenges. After Caly’s talk with the students, representatives from numerous educational and job training programs spoke with students about alternative pathways after high schools. I would like to that Nicole McDonald, guidance counselor at IT and Malea Perkins, NY GEARUP Office Coordinator, for making this event such a success. We look forward to our next “Other Roads Workshop” which will be held at Nottingham High School in March. The Step It UP! radio show is

What is NY GEARUP? NY GEARUP is based out of Syracuse University’s School of Education. NY GEARUP works in the Syracuse City School District with the class of 2011 at Corcoran, Fowler, Henninger, ITC and Nottingham high schools. GEARUP stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. It’s a national initiative to create innovative programs with the goal of increasing college awareness for students and their families. GEARUP also helps students develop the skills necessary to pursue education after high school. To achieve its mission, NY GEARUP organizes college visits, tutoring and mentoring, college awareness and exploration activites, and educational planning and workshops.

going well. This spring, I will be giving a presentation on the collaboration between Clear Channels and NY GEARUP at the New York State GEAR UP Conference in Saratoga Springs. This partnership has allowed us to reach a wide range of constituents. Students will also be attending the state conference and have the opportunity to meet with their peers from across the state. This will be our final state conference for this grant cycle. I am looking forward to sharing many wonderful memories of my time as directors of all the NY GEARUP projects share best practices and plan for future GEARUP programs. Happy New Year! Marissa J. Mims

Photos by Caitlin Donnelly

COVER: Students from the NY GEARUP at Yonkers cohort enjoy a visit to the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center on Saturday Dec. 4. RIGHT: Crouse College leavesYonkers students in awe during the first official snowfall of the season.

Interested in Writing? For those students in the NY GEARUP program that are graduating in 2011 and are interested in writing for Eagle Newspaper’s NY GEARUP edition, please contact Caitlin Donnelly at

NY GEARUP, January 2011 /

What’s inside Message from the Director....................................... 2 Table of contents ........................................................ 3 Calendar of events...................................................... 4 January 2011 Regents exams ................................... 5 For the Parents..................................................... 6 & 7 Achievements........................................................ 8 & 9 NY GEARUP at Yonkers visits SU ................10 & 11 ‘Other Roads’ at ITC .................................. .............12 The College Interview .............................. .............. 13 NY GEARUP, La Liga bilingual GED program ..... 14 The Back Page ........................................................... 15 College of the Month: SUNY Oneonta ............... 16

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Wednesday 29

Thursday 30

Friday 31

Saturday 1 SU Regular Decision Application due!

Off- Winter Break



























Off Martin Luther King Day

23 30

31 Regent’s Exams See page 5 for full schedule

*** This is NOT a complete list of events and activites, as new events are added daily. Please visit us on Facebook (NY GEARUP @ Syracuse University) or Twitter (NYGEARUP) for a more up-to-date schedule of events.***

NY GEARUP, January 2011 /

January 2011 Regents Exams The Schedule Tuesday Jan. 25 8:30 a.m.

Living Environment RCT Global Studies *

12:30 p.m.

Algebra 2/ Trigonometry RCT in Mathematics*

Wednesday Jan. 26

Thursday Jan. 27

Comprehensive French Comprehensive Spanish Physical Setting/ Earth Science

U.S. History & Government Geometry

8:30 a.m.

RCT in U.S. History & Government*

12:30 p.m.

Integrated Algebra

8:30 a.m.

Friday Jan. 28 8:30 a.m.

Global History and Geography RCT in Writing*

RCT in Science*

12:30 p.m.

Physical Setting/ Chemistry Physical Setting/ Physics RTC in Reading*

The Regents Competency Test (RCT) are exams given to special education student with individualized needs or those seeking a high school *diploma, but can’t pass the standard Regents exam with a 65 or above. Students are eligible for the RCTs until they graduate or they are 21.

Exam Day Survival Tips


Before the test

3 Eat well. Studies show that you

need good nutrition to concentrate and perform your best. 3 Bring the right supplies. Bring your pencils, erasers, pens, rulers, compasses, calculators and whatever else you need on test day.

3 Review the whole rest of the test before you start. See how many sec-

tions and what types of questions are on the test. Determine how much time to allow for completing each section.

3 Jot down your first thoughts.

During your first scan of the test, make quick notes about your thoughts. For example, you may want to outline your answers to written-response and essay questions right away.

During the test 3 Read the directions. It’s

important that you follow the instructions exactly. For example, some questions may have more than one correct answer.

3 Answer easy questions first.

Doing this can jog your memory about useful facts. You may also come across information that can help you with other questions.

3 Answer every question. Unless there is a penalty for wrong answers, try to answer every question; you may be able to get partial credit for those you begin but don’t complete correctly. 3 Ask questions. If a question isn’t clear, talk to your teacher. If that’s not possible, explain your answer in the margin.

3 Identify key words. This helps you focus on the main idea of challenging questions. 3 Rephrase difficult questions. To understand questions better, rewrite them in your own words. Be careful not to change the meaning. 3 Organize your thoughts before you write. Take time to organize your responses to short-answer and essay questions. You’ll reduce the time you need to revise. 3 Write neatly. Be sure you don’t lose points on answers the teacher can’t read. 3 Use all the time you’re given. If you finish early, don’t leave. Use the extra time to proofread and review your answers.

Regents diploma Students must pass—with a 65or higher—Integrated Algebra, Global History and Geography, U.S. History and Government, Comprehensive English and one science regents of their choice.

Advanced Regents diploma Sttudents must pass Integrated Algebra, an additional math exam, Global History and Geography, U.S. History and Government, Comprehensive English and two science regents’ and a foreign language exam.

Regents exams are mandatory test designed by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York.

/ NY GEARUP, January 2011


529: A tax-exempt way to pay for college Figuring out how to pay for college may be more daunting than completing the course work it takes to graduate. If you’re a parent or grandparent, you’ve likely considered the question of how to pay for your family’s education, and it’s possible that answers have not been easy to find. Almost everyone wants to contribute financially to their children’s or grandchildren’s education, according to The Hartford’s fifth annual college savings survey. However, only 64 percent of respondents are aware of tax-efficient ways to save. With many college saving options available, determining which ones are best for you and your family can be confusing. 529 plans are a great option for tax-advantaged savings. A 529 plan allows you to make investments with earnings that are tax-exempt when they are applied toward eligible higher education expenses. If you are in the process of developing a college savings plan for your children or grandchildren, it’s always a good idea to talk to your financial advisor. If you’re confused about college savings options, particularly about 529 plans, you

are not alone. The Hartford survey found that 43 percent of parents and grandparents don’t fully understand this investment tool. Before you talk to your advisor, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about 529 plans.

How much can you contribute to a 529?

Many states allow the account owner to take a state income tax deduction for contributions made to their plan each year. The amount of the deduction varies by state, and if you roll the funds to another 529 plan not sponsored by that state, your deduction may be subject to recapture. Under federal gift tax rules, you can contribute up to $13,000 per year for each beneficiary of a 529 account without gift tax consequences. You can also make a tax-exempt contribution of $65,000, or $130,000 for married couples, per beneficiary, once every five years. If you treat the gift as being made over five years, and die before the end of the five year period, the portion of the gift allocatable to the period after your death will be included in your estate. Any ad-

ditional gifts given by you to the same Designated Beneficiary in the five year period will be subject to federal gift tax. You should consult with your tax advisor for more information.

How can 529 funds be used?

In addition to tuition expenses, beneficiaries of a 529 plan can use the proceeds to pay for fees, room and board, books and any equipment required for classes at an educational institution. The funds can be used at most two- and four-year accredited post-secondary institutions in the United States, including trade and vocational schools. You may also be eligible to use the funds at a foreign institution.

What happens if I don’t use the funds for education expenses?

The earnings would be treated as ordinary taxable income and could be subject to a 10 percent federal income-tax penalty. Such withdrawals may also have state income tax implications. Certain exceptions are allowed. For example, if your child earned a scholarship and didn’t need the funds to pay for college, withdrawals in the amount of

the scholarship would likely come without penalty.

Who can open an account?

Any adult who is a U.S. citizen or resident can open an account. There are no income restrictions. Some accounts have restrictions on the account owner’s state of residency. The Hartford manages The Hartford SMART529 plan that’s available nationwide, as well as CHET Advisor which is available to Connecticut residents. Both plans may be purchased through a financial advisor.

Who has control of the account? The account owner has complete control over how contributions are invested and when withdrawals are made.

Who can contribute?

Most plans allow anyone, including friends and relatives to contribute. A 529 contribution is a great way to give the gift of education to a friend or relative who is planning on attending college. - ARA

Helping Your Child Graduate on Time Can Save You Money When many families prepare for financing a child’s college education, they base their plan on the expectation that their child can graduate in four years. However, the time to graduation may be longer. This can mean a significantly higher total cost for a college education. The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) tracked the progress of first-time students seeking a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and attending a four-year institution fulltime in the 2000-01 school year. It found that only 36 percent of these students graduated from college within four years. And only 57.5 percent of undergraduates who began that year had at-

tained a degree or certificate six years later, in 2007. Evaluate the likelihood that your child can graduate in four years. Ask yourself: 3 Is my child a good student who works hard in school and is serious about an education? 3 How clearly defined are my child’s goals? 3 Does the college offer advising services for scheduling required classes, so my child can take the ones needed to graduate on time? Then sit down to make a realistic financial plan. Try to anticipate your costs if you feel your child may need to an extra year or two to complete a degree.

What Can Families Do?

There are many ways you can help your child graduate from college on time, on schedule and on budget. Planning ahead and monitoring your child’s progress is the best way to make sure that college goes smoothly. Here are some areas to concentrate on: Prepare your child for college, especially in reading, writing and math, to avoid the need for remedial courses, which often don’t count toward a degree. Support your child in getting college credit with the Advanced Placement Program (AP) and College-Level Examination Program (CLEP). Urge your child to register for

classes as early as possible so that your child is less likely to be shut out of required courses. Review your child’s course load each semester to make sure it includes enough credits to stay on schedule. Encourage your child to complete required courses and to explore interests early during college years; changing majors can cause delays later if basic requirements weren’t satisfied. Confirm that your child can get transfer credits if taking courses at other institutions. Consider a few summer classes if your child falls behind.

Courtesy of

NY GEARUP, January 2011 /


Paying for College Is a Shared Responsibility When your child decides to attend college, it’s an investment in the future. That’s why your family is expected to contribute as much as you can to pay for your child’s college education. Spending on higher education is an investment in our country, too — there is a recognized need for college graduates in the workforce of the future. That’s why there are other sources of financing, both public and private, available to help families pay for college. Your first financial resource is your family, which includes you, your child and others who may be willing to help out, such as grandparents. Independent students, no longer supported by parents, are also expected to contribute to their own education costs. Help can also come from the government at the federal, state and local levels. The federal gover nment is actually the largest financial aid provider in the U.S. In addition, you can look to the college or university your child decides to attend for scholarships and work-study opportunities. Finally, private businesses provide loans and local community groups often offer scholarships to deserving students.

How Can We Fund Our Child’s Education?

Many students work with a combination of all these resources to pay for college. Here are a number of ways your family can fund your child’s education. Use past income: Now is the time to put your savings to good use. In addition to money you have in the bank, your family should tap into any special education accounts to help pay for college tuition and other costs. Read more about your college saving options. Use current income: Now that it’s time to pay for college, you may be able to put aside a portion

of your paycheck each month, in addition to what you’ve already saved. You can even take advantage of college tuition tax credits once your child is in college. Also, tell your child to forget about hanging out at the mall. Summer provides a great opportunity for your child to work, and all earnings can be put toward education, since your child lives at home. Babysitting, serving food, mowing lawns or doing data entry are all good ways for your child to add to the college fund. Some high school students can also handle working part-time during the school year. Use future income : Future income is money your child can access while in college, in the form of loans that don’t have to be paid back until after graduation. Various loans are available for students and parents. Lear n more about college loan options. Students can begin the application process for loans by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).Be sure your child takes advantage of all federal options first and doesn’t bor row more money than is needed. You and your child also have the option of taking out private loans through banks or other organizations. Control costs: Time is money; the longer it takes to complete your child’s education, the more it costs overall. Your child might be able to graduate early by earning college credit through the Advanced Placement program (AP) or College Level Examination Program (CLEP), or by taking a course or two during the summer. Another way to save is to pay less per credit. Typically, community colleges offer courses at a lower per-credit price than four-year colleges do. Your child might consider attending a community college and then transferring to a four-year institution to ear n a bachelor’s degree.

Contributed photo

Taking a heavier course load can also help your child fulfill requirements more quickly, often at no additional cost. Just remind your child to keep the workload manageable. If you think graduate or professional school is in your child’s future, look into accelerated joint-degree programs, which enable students to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in less time than if they enrolled in each program separately. Get someone else to pay for your child: There are many grants and scholarships out there that can help your child meet college costs. Learn how to find appropriate scholarships, including those offered by civic organizations — such as the Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the USA, or 4-H — to deserving students.  A Pell Grant is one type of financial assistance that your child is not required to repay. Additional aid can come from campus-based programs, such as Federal Perkins Loans, work-study opportunities, or Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants.  Service organizations can help your child cut costs by offering

monetary awards that can be used to pay for education expenses or to pay off student loans. In return, your child must promise to work for the organization. Here are a few examples of service organizations: 3 AmeriCor ps prog rams, including Volunteers in Service to America (VISTAs) and Teach for America. 3 National Health Service Corps 3 Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) programs in the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. 3 Peace Corps

Where Do We Start?

Talk with your child’s school c o u n s e l o r, wh o c a n h e l p yo u explore your options. You can also visit theU.S. Department of Education website ( to find out more about federal student aid.

Courtesy of

/ NY GEARUP, January 2011

Senior Achievements Corcoran football in the all-star classic

Henninger AP Scholars

The Corcoran football team was well represented in the recent John Arcaro All-Star Football Classic. Trenell Boggans, Anthony Heard, Ryan Kohanski, Matt Morgan, Raquen Morris, Chao Porch, Deandre Smith 11 and Nakeem Whitlock all represented the Cougars. Senior running back, Chao Porch, was named offensive MVP in the game. Porch rushed for 200 yards and scored two touchdowns for the East squad. Safety Trenell Boggans received the US Army Warrior Award for his efforts which included three interceptions and one touchdown for the East team.

These seniors from Henninger have received a 3 or higher on three or more Advanced Placement exams: 3 Thomas Bardenett 3 Alexander Carni 3 Samantha Collier 3 Emily Davies 3 Daniel Nguyen 3 Viet Nguyen

Fowler’s outstanding senior athletes

Nottingham Scholars

Fowler High School had some of their student athletes recognized at the conclusion of the Fall sports season.  All of the student athletes did a wonderful job this fall, but these select few were able to distinguish themselves from their peers with their effort on the soccer field, volleyball court and football field.

The following seniors at Nottingham have earned these Advanced Placement awards:

3 Boys Soccer: Heri Muke, a senior, made 1st Team All-

students have earned an average grade of at least a 3.5 on all AP exams taken, and have earned a 3 or higher on five or more of these exams. 3 Ashley Barclay 3 Jonah Gruber 3 Vinh Ho 3 Paul Traver Scholar with honor: These

League. Seniors Nelson Toe and Vincent Seruhuhgu made 2nd Team All-League. 3 Girls VB: Ajia Holland, a senior, made 1st Team AllLeague. Brittany Robarge, a senior, made 2nd Team AllLeague. 3 Football: Darryn Cooley, a senior, made 2nd Team AllLeague. 3 Boys Volleyball: Malcolm Jones, a senior, made 2nd Team All-League.

National scholar: 3 Paul Traver Scholar with distinction: These

students have earned an average grade of at least 3.25 on all AP exams taken, and have earned at least a 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. 3 Hunter Andrews 3 John Lopez 3 Lahn Nguyen Scholar: These students earned a 3 or higher on three or more AP exams. 3 Joshua Feldman 3 Bailey Flood 3 Issac Garland 3 Colin Harvey 3 Alexai Hinkelman 3 Seth Navin

Corcoran All-League athletes The following Corcoran High School student athletes were named to All-League honors for the Fall sports season: 3 Girls Volleyball: Harley Bucktooth made 1st Team All League. 3 Girls Soccer: Amber Eagan made 1st Team All League.Alexis Wilensky and Robin Kompf made 2nd Team All League. 3 Boys Soccer: Jon Boehm and Matt

Massenzio made 1st Team All League. Pat Standford made 2nd Team All League. 3 Girls Cross Country: Erin Kenney made 1st Team All League. Ayumi Stultz and Jane McCurn made 2nd Team All League. 3 Boys Cross Country: Colin O’Neill made 1st Team All League. Jordan Moore made 2nd Team All


3 Golf: Mike Collier made 2nd Team All League. 3 Football: Raquen Morris, Trenell Boggans and Deandre Smith made 1st Team All-CNY. Ryan Kohanski, Anthony Heard and Nakeem Whitlock made 2nd Team All-CNY. Chao Porch, Matt Morgan and Deshawn Myers made 3rd Team All-CNY.

NY GEARUP, January 2011 /

Check out who’s accomplishing what at Corcoran, Fowler, Henninger, ITC and Nottingham high schools

NSBE Students Take Home Awards at Regional Conference Congratulations to all of the members of the Syracuse City School District National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Jr. Chapter who took part in the Fall Regional Conference in Rochester, NY. Students from several schools throughout District participated in the areas of Math, Science and Robotics with many of them placing in 1st, 2nd and 3rd in their respective fields. The regional conference includes students from Canada, Metro/Long Island, New England, New Jersey, and Upstate New York. This was the preliminary round to the final round which is held at the National Convention. This year’s National Convention is being held in St. Louis, Missouri from March 20th – March 27th. These students are expected to represent the

region as well as the SCSD and the City of Syracuse in these competitions. This is a wonderful challenge but one that the students have worked enormously hard for

This year’s senior winners were:

Math 3 Team Highlight, 3rd place members: Barbara Grady, Corcoran; Robert Rowser, Fowler; Clinton Williams, Corcoran.

Engineering 3 The Dutches, 3rd place members: Carleigh Raeford, ITC; Sadiayyah Muhammed, ITC. 3 Team N.E.R.Z., 5th place members: Saquan Dozier, ITC.

Send us your achievements at

Meadowbrook Harlequins’ seniors perform in Noises Off Wednesday Shedd, JP Kaya, Aaron Alexander performed in Noises Off, the fall production of Nottingham High School’s theater troupe,The Meadowbrook Harlequins. The play was a fun-filled look at the behind-thescenes life of a play, and ran from Nov. 19 to 21. The production was under the direction of English teacher Ginny Fennessy, and produced by social studies teacher Don Little.

Corcoran diver Williams makes a splash Corcoran senior diver Imani Williams is gearing up for the Section III Championship as well as the New York State Diving Championship. The sectionals are truly a trial run for the dynamic diver as she has already qualified for States by shattering the qualifying score of 396 with a 434 at the OHSL Championships. Imani is a uniquely talented diver who not only possesses a great deal of talent but has a passion for diving and the fearlessness needed to exceed at the highest level. She first qualified for sectionals in the 7th grade. She accomplished this at such a young age because she was able to learn 11 dives; 2 of each group (front, back, inward, reverse, and twist) and a third from one of those groups in her first year of diving. She placed second at Sectionals as an 8th grader and has not been defeated since in Section III in season competition. Until her sophomore year when she finished in 12th place overall no diver from Section III had made it past the first round at the State Meet. Imani followed that up with a 4th place overall finish in her junior year. In addition, she has held the school record for Corcoran HS since her 9th grade year and has the potential to break the Section III record of 470 set over 10 years ago.

Conpiled from the Syracuse City School District website,

10/ NY GEARUP, January 2011

NY GEARUP at Yonkers visits Syracuse University By Caitlin Donnelly NY GEARUP at Syracuse University welcomed students from the NY GEARUP at Yonkers cohort to campus on Saturday Dec.4. Forty three students from the Yonkers Public School District—which includes Gorton, Roosevelt, Riverside, Lincoln and Saunders high schools—traveled to SU as part of an overnight campus visit tour in Central New York. Other colleges on the itinerary included SUNY Binghamton, SUNY Cortland and SUNY Morrisville under the supervision of Gorton High School Assistant Principal, Sandra Piacente, and teacher chaperones. Those students that made the trip plan on applying to at least one of the four colleges visited, said Piacente. “These kids have been phenomenal,” she said. “This trip gives inner city kids the opportunity to see these schools first hand. Their chances of visiting them otherwise is very small.” During the visit, the students were given tours by Syracuse University students, followed by a brief tour of the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center, and lunch in the Ernie Davis Dining Hall.

NY GEARUP, January 2011 /11

Photos by Caitlin Donnelly

12/ NY GEARUP, January 2011

‘Other Roads’ at ITC By Carolyn Clark Calmesha Givens didn’t think about going to college until the end of high school loomed in the near future. She started and led a gang, “911 Quickness,” and was stabbed twice in the back. But on December 10, Givens visited ITC’s cafeteria to share her story of success with NY GEARUP students during an “Other Roads” Workshop. In her senior year at C o rc o r a n H i g h s ch o o l , Givens decided that she needed to get into college. Having been raised by her g randmother while her parents were in prison, Calmesha was the first person in her family to go onto college. ITC seniors cheered for Givens as she told her tale of running for senior class president, applying for college, and getting accepted to the Fashion Institute of Technology. But throughout her story, Givens stressed to the students that they need to work hard for what they want. “Figure out what you want and get it,” she told the students. That’s exactly what Givens did for herself: FIT was too far from her family, so she transfer red to Genesee Community College. “They told me that it would take four semesters to graduate from college,” Givens said. “But I didn’t have that kind of time or money. So I did it in three.”

After her graduation, she applied and was accepted to her dream school, Howard University. She p a cke d u p a n d h e a d e d down to D.C. to go to school. Givens said that she would take seven classes a semester while working full-time to succeed. Students also heard from Frank Fowler, the chief of police during the workshop. He talked about staying on the right track for success. “You need to be aware of your sur roundings,” Fowler said. To demonstrate his point, he tossed a Sharpie marker to a student. The student caught it and tossed it back, but the marker landed on the ground. Fowler then explained that the marker represented drugs. And even though Fowler and the one student were the only ones who had possession of the marker, the police could potentially charge everyone in the cafeteria with possession. “That’s how easy it can be to lose everything,” he said. After the speakers, students had the opportunity to walk around to different tables where career re presentatives of fered information and advice on options other than college for after high school. CNY Works, the Syracuse Police Department, Doubletree Hotels, and Phillips Hairstyling Institute were among the represented options. Photos by Marissa J. Mims

NY GEARUP, January 2011 /13

The College Interview The interview is just one of many factors in the admission decision and it is rarely the deciding one. Still, if a borderline student turns out to be impressive, the interviewer has the authority to write a letter supporting admission.

Types of Interviews

The Basics

A college interview is a chance to show that you’re more than just test scores and grades. And it’s an exchange of information — you learn about the college and the college learns about you. Not every college requires an interview: it may be mandatory, optional or not offered at all.

Interviews vary depending on the college, student and particular situation. You could find yourself interviewing with an admission officer, a student or an alumnus. Most of these interviews last between 30 and 60 minutes. There are also other, less formal, interview situations. You may have the opportunity to participate in a group information session with admission staff members and current students. Many high schools hold college fairs, where you can meet with representatives on an individual basis. If you intend to attend a music, drama or dance institute, you should plan on performing an audition or submitting a portfolio, in addition to taking part in any necessary interview.

Why Interview?

Most colleges don’t require an interview; however, there are many benefits to meeting face-to-face with an admission officer. Interviews give you the chance to: 3 Show that you are seriously interested in attending. 3 Convey what you can bring to a

campus community. 3 Learn more about a college’s programs. 3 Explain variations in your record — for example, changes in your grades.

Be Your Own Best Advocate

The admission officers learn about you from a group of documents: your transcript, test scores and application. While your essay and recommendations can offer an impression of who you are, words on paper can reveal only so much. The interview is your chance to be your own advocate by talking positively about your interests and enthusiasms, to show your personality, and to boost your chance of admission.

Discuss Special Circumstances

The interview is a good time to explain anything unusual in your transcript or discuss any personal circumstances that affected your studies. Any problems that you may find difficult to write about in the application are often easier to discuss with a sympathetic admission counselor. For example: You may not be the best math student, but it never stopped you from taking AP® Calculus — tell the interviewer why you persisted despite such difficulties. During sophomore year, your parents divorced and your academic work took a downturn. You have a learning disability and need to make an extra effort with every assignment.

Making Your Interview a Positive Experience

nervous. As long as you’ve prepared and practiced, you can probably make a good impression. Here are some other tips: 3 Accept a college’s offer of an interview. 3 Be on time. 3 Go into the interview alone, without your parents. 3 Be polite to everyone you meet. 3 Act naturally. 3 Respond conversationally — don’t memorize a speech. 3 Use appropriate language and avoid slang. 3 Be confident but not arrogant. 3 Tell the truth. 3 Express interest in the college and its programs. 3 Ask questions not covered by the college catalog or website. 3 Avoid eating or drinking during the interview. 3 Dress neatly and cleanly; don’t wear T-shirts or other casual clothing.

Be Sure to Ask Questions

Asking questions shows that you’re interested in the college and what the admission officer has to say. You should try to ask questions that indicate you’ve done some research about the college and know why you consider it a good fit for you. Also, asking questions can help you discover characteristics that colleges can’t convey in a catalog.

Courtesy of

You can’t pass or fail, so don’t be

Questions to ask your interviewer 3 What is unique or special about this college/ what is the most compelling reason to enroll? 3 Which academic departments are the best? 3 What are the most popular majors on campus? 3 I’m thinking of majoring in . What can you tell me about how that’s taught here? 3 Are there any special academic programs that you would recommend for me? 3 How would you describe the majority of the

students that go here? 3 What do the students like most about this college? 3 What do they complain about the most? 3 What are some of the issues that concern students on campus? How actively are they engaged in those issues? 3 What are the most popular extracurricular activities on campus? 3 What are the weekends like?

3 What are the big campus events during the year? 3 How are roommates matched up? 3 Do many residents live off campus? 3 Are there any big changes coming up that I should know about? 3 Are there any major construction projects coming up in the next four years? 3 What do students do when they get sick? What are health services like?

14/ NY GEARUP, January 2011

NY GEARUP, La Liga sponsor bilingual GED program By Ana Maria Paniagua Contributing Writer Did you know? NY GEARUP offers the opportunity to start the year 2011 off on the right foot. The Spanish Action League of Onondaga County, Inc. now offers a bilingual GED program in conjunction with NY GEARUP. What is a GED program? General Educational Development (GED) is a program where students learn, grow and take an important test in order to receive their high school diploma. Who can apply to this program? There are many GED programs, and all have different requirements. The GED program offered by NY GEARUP is dedicated to rescuing and helping students who stopped attending high school

for personal reasons. Students from the Syracuse City School District who are in the NY GEARUP cohort, and will graduate in 2011 may participate. Here you will be evaluated based on your current GPA, personal references, academic assistance programs, employment training, among other things. The bilingual GED program sponsored by “La Liga” and NY GEARUP will offer its entrance exams January 17, 2011. Students that qualify will start their training in the program, January 24 at the Spanish Action League, 700 Oswego St. in Syracuse. Remember: even the best cook burns the beans, the important thing is to mend. For more information about the bilingual GED program, contact the NY GEARUP office at 443-7848.

Hey boys, stay eligible for benefits While young men may think government benefits are just for their elders, in fact, they may be eligible for many federal, state and municipal benefits programs right now. It’s important, however, to make sure you stay eligible by registering with the Selective Service System.

Opportunities for Young Men

Male students who need help paying for college will find that registering with the Selective Service opens up all doors to federal financial aid. This includes everything from Pell Grants to College Work Study to Guaranteed Student/PLUS Loans. Plus, those who sign up with the Selective Service System are eligible for federal job training via the Workforce Investment Act, as well as numerous federal jobs. Registering is also the only path to citizenship for immigrant men arriving in the U.S. before their 26 th birthday.

Required by Law

According to U.S. law, virtually all male citizens and immigrants need to register with the Selective Service System. Historically, young men have had to do this during

the 60-day window that begins 30 days before their 18 th birthday and continues for 30 days afterward. This still holds true, but with Early Submission, it is now possible to submit your registration information as long as you are at least 17 years and 3 months of age. Registration applies to all young men-even those living overseas. Those who are immigrants must likewise register, regardless of immigration status.

Where and How to Register

Online registration: Log on to and click on the registration icon. It takes only a minute to complete the online form. When you submit your information, you will receive a registration number instantly. The U.S. Postal Service: Visit any U.S. Postal Service branch to obtain a Selective Service “mail-back” re gistration for m. Men living overseas may register at any U.S. embassy or consular office. By mail: Eligible men may also register by filling out a reminder mail-back card. Selective Service will send this card to any young man around the time he turns 18. Mail-back cards are also available

Caitlin Donnelly

Students from Nottingham High School at some post offices. The federal student aid form: Another easy way to register for Selective Service is by checking a box on the application form for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA form). Checking “yes” on box 29 of this form will alert the Department of Education to provide Selective Service with the information to register you.

School: Most high schools appoint a staff member or teacher to serve as Selective Service Registrar. They help to register young men and answer questions. For more information or to register, visit

Courtesy of NAPSM

NY GEARUP, January 2011 /15

The Back Page VOTE! What is the most difficult part of the college application process? The college essay Financial aid paperwork Keeping track of deadlines The application itself Check out NY GEARUP’s blog,, or post your response on NY GEARUP’s facebook page by searching NY GEARUP @ Syracuse University, and vote! Then check back in next month’s edition to see how your fellow classmates weighed in.


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Courtesy of StatePoint Media

Books to read in 2011 Austen, Jane- Pride and Prejudice Bronte, Charlotte- Jane Eyre Bronte, Emily- Wuthering Heights Camus, Albert- The Stranger Cervantes, Miguel de- Don Quixote Chekhov, Anton- The Cherry Orchard Chopin, Kate- The Awakening Conrad, Joseph- Heart of Darkness Cooper, James Fenimore- The Last of the Mohicans Crane, Stephen- The Red Badge of Courage Dante- Inferno Defoe, Daniel- Robinson Crusoe Dickens, Charles- A Tale of Two Cities Dostoyevsky, Fyodor- Crime and Punishment Dreiser, Theodore- An American Tragedy Dumas, Alexandre- The Three Musketeers Ellison, Ralph- Invisible Man Faulkner, William- As I Lay Dying Faulkner, William- The Sound and the Fury Fitzgerald, F. Scott- The Great Gatsby Ford, Ford Madox- The Good Soldier Golding, William- Lord of the Flies Hawthorne, Nathaniel- The Scarlet Letter Heller, Joseph- Catch 22 Homer- The Iliad, The Odyssey Hugo,Victor- The Hunchback of Notre Dame Hurston, Zora Neale- Their Eyes Were Watching God Huxley, Aldous- Brave New World Ibsen, Henrik- A Doll’s House James, Henry- The Portrait of a Lady Joyce, James- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Lee, Harper- To Kill a Mockingbird Lewis, Sinclair- Babbitt

London, Jack- The Call of the Wild Marquez, Gabriel Garcia- One Hundred Years of Solitude Melville, Herman- Moby Dick Miller, Arthur- The Crucible Morrison, Toni- Beloved O’Connor, Flannery- A Good Man is Hard to Find O’Neill, Eugene- Long Day’s Journey i nto Night Orwell, George- Animal Farm Plath, Sylvia- The Bell Jar Poe, Edgar Allen- Selected Tales Remarque, Erich Maria- All Quiet on the Western Front Roth, Henry- Call It Sleep Salinger, J.D.- The Catcher in the Rye Shakespeare,Wm- Macbeth, A Midsum mer Night’s Dream & Romeo and Juliet Shaw, George Bernard- Pygmalion Shelley, Mary- Frankenstein Sophocles- Antigone & Oedipus Rex Steinbeck, John- The Grapes of Wrath Stevenson, Robert Louis- Treasure Island Stowe, Harriet Beecher- Uncle Tom’s Cabin Swift, Jonathan- Gulliver’s Travels Thackeray, William- Vanity Fair Turgenev, Ivan- Fathers and Sons Twain, Mark- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Voltaire- Candide Vonnegut, Kurt Jr.- Slaughterhouse-Five Walker, Alice- The Color Purple Wharton, Edith- The House of Mirth Whitman, Walt- Leaves of Grass Wilde, Oscar- The Picture of Dorian Gray Williams, Tennessee- The Glass Menagerie Woolf,Virginia- To the Lighthouse Wright, Richard- Native Son

16/ NY GEARUP, January 2011


SUNY Oneonta is a four-year liberal arts school founded in 1889 in Oneonta, New York. The school is medium sized with about 6,000 undergraduate students. Liberal arts means that students can major in many areas in the humanities from music industry to chemistry. It has been ranked by US News consistently as a top tier public school and offers a wellsized campus with fifteen residence halls to choose from. Though a mid-siz e l eve l , t h e school still has a large Greek system with fraternities and sororities. A big event at the

school is the Big O’ Poetry Slam done by the Poetry Slam Association. The school also has its own student-run television station, WIRE TV. They have both news reports and coverage of university sports. They also have WONY, the student-run radio station, which any student can become part of. The schools mascot is the red dragon, and the school competes in a number of both varsity and club sports. The school competes in Division III and is especially known for its women’s soccer team. The school’s library has the second largest collection of any SUNY school and 80 percent of its tenured faculty have earned doctorates or the highest degree of study in their field, and another 80 percent of Oneonta students receive financial assistance, so it’s possible to pay your way through school!

Be Heard

The Step It Up! staff has settled into a spectacular weekend routine with its two-hour talk-based show about teen issues, college readiness and NY GEARUP. It’s entertaining and informative for anyone from students to parents and community members. We’re always looking for people to interview and high school seniors to try their hand in the radio business. If interested, contact Mariel Fiedler at

CONTACT US 315.443.7848


NY GEARUP @ Syracuse University

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