Living on the EDge: Helping Students Get Ahead

By: Shayna Darling  |  October 21, 2013

As we find ourselves acclimating once again to college life, it’s easy to forget what brought us here: that arduous process of college applications. Yet, as difficult of a process as it was, it is perhaps a greater challenge for many of New York’s young adults who are not surrounded by a support system that constantly encourages their academic growth and pursuits. All that changed through College EDge.

Many Yeshiva University students have brought awareness and assistance to underrepresented students through College EDge. College EDge was founded in 2010 by a Yeshiva College student, Yonah Rubin, on the premise that many students don’t have the proper access to the knowledge and services that are so essential to the college application process. College EDge specifically targets public high school students attending YABC (Young Adult Borough Center) programs, which are designed to help students who are behind in credit or at risk of dropping out of school altogether. College EDge is heavily involved with the George Washington chapter due to its location in Washington Heights. Recently, it was granted non-profit status, which will provide many benefits to the organization.

College EDge offers a variety of year-round activities to local public high school students, ranging from intimate to large scale. One such event, Design Your Future, is run with support from the YU Career Center. It offers workshops and other vital information about post-secondary options for high school students. However, one of the most integral and successful parts of College EDge is its Mentorship Program. The Mentorship Program matches students attending Yeshiva College and Stern with YABC high school students. The program creates a comfortable environment where the high school students can ask and receive important assistance regarding college applications and everyday life. Elianne Neuman, a Junior at Stern who is the director of the Mentoring Program for College EDge, said “what is exemplary about College EDge mentorship is that we work with the schools and with the students to figure out what they need.” She adds that College EDge is “willing to tailor [our] programming to fit the needs of the YABCs and their students.” Such an approach creates a successful environment that properly addresses the needs of students and helps them achieve their goals.

A new extension of the College EDge Mentoring Program, the Five-On-Five program, will begin this year. The Five-On-Five Program will match five YU students with five student leaders from the George Washington YABC. This will ultimately create a more personalized mentoring experience and provide students with specific advice regarding their respective situations. In addition to the Five-On-Five Program, another tentative initiative set to begin this year is the Adopt-A-School Program, which will pair local YABC chapters with local universities, to create a cooperative relationship that will help aid students in their pursuit of higher education

Once a year, College EDge offers its largest event, the Annual Seminar and Fair Day. College EDge members contact YABC affiliated schools and public high school students from all over the state in order to bring in students who can most benefit from the event. The program provides seminars and workshops on topics such as college admissions and financial aid, as well as the opportunity to explore a variety of post-high school options. Last year’s event brought in at least two hundred students and thirty colleges.

In its short existence, College EDge has grown and become more successful each year. It will undoubtedly continue to expand thanks to its new non-profit status. When asked how this status will benefit the club, current College EDge president Ryan Fiter said, “it will create a real sense of legitimacy and continuity.” He added that, “[College EDge] is trying to really expand and become a recognized non-profit organization, rather than solely a college club.” Indeed, College Edge can expect to remain an important part of both the YU and larger New York community.