Written By: Natalie Pinto, Yannely Sanchez
I began my junior year overwhelmed with a ton of information dumped on me all at once; I had to sign up for SATs and ACTs, prepare for the CommonApp, apply for financial aid through FAFSA, and other stressful college stuff that I knew nothing about. I was frightened of how lengthy and difficult the college application process was being worked up to be, and as a first-generation student, I didn’t have any family to lean on to help me out. However, that all changed once I joined Don Bosco Scholars.
The Don Bosco Scholars Program is a college preparatory program offered by the Don Bosco Center to first-generation, low-income students that, like me, are clueless about the college process. Every accepted member is given a mentor that leads them along the way.
The program paired me up with an amazing personal mentor named Mrs. Keating. She has fully supported me throughout the entire process; she helped me identify my interests in colleges, make a list of my preferred colleges, and has even taken me to visit a couple! In addition to the personal connection with a college coach, the program also provides preparatory SAT courses, an essay advisor, financial aid workshops, and other resources to support each scholar throughout their junior and senior year of highschool.
A PCHS Don Bosco member shares that, “The Don Bosco Scholars experience has been exceedingly helpful in keeping me organized and informed to help guide me in my future. In my junior year, I appreciated their help on SAT prep considering each time I went to take the exam, my score improved. I’m also super grateful for their help on college work because it made everything so much quicker. I was given guidance and suggestions on my college essay, different universities, supplementals, and my applications and it made everything so much easier, especially as a first-gen college student. Their continued support on my future endeavors comforts me to know I have people to turn to for information and appreciate all the help they have given to me.”
Another shares similar sentiments, “For me personally, I think Don Bosco Scholars is a really good opportunity for those who are first generation students. The program helps us learn a lot about the college process by assisting us with the FAFSA, CommonApp, and writing supplemental essays. They help you follow a path so you don’t fall behind and stay on track for successful application processes.”
Mike Keating, the director of the program, explains that it is a selective program that only accepts 15 applicants each year. “We look for highly motivated students who have strong academic qualifications and who actively participate in extracurricular activities. With this year’s Class of 2023, over 90 Scholars have been attending their dream college since our program began in 2016,” he says.
“The Don Bosco Scholars program is amazing. Students and their families get access to a college education and a potentially life changing experience. Coaches, writing mentors, financial aid advice and Sat prep. All for free! It’s the golden ticket!,” says Scholar Mentor, Susan Keating.
If you are a student interested in this program, the first step is to talk with your counselor. There’s a certain academic profile that the program looks for and that the counselors are familiar with, so they’ll assist you if you have any questions. There are currently still opening spots for the Class of 2024, and even though the application was due January 31st, the deadline is flexible.
The application process involves filling out a document that has you provide information about your education, your family, and your college interests. Additionally, you’ll also have to provide your transcript, a letter of recommendation from your guidance counselor, a copy of your parents 2021 tax returns, and you’ll also have to have an interview.
Once you’re done with the application and provide the necessary documents, send it to the address below. Applying to Don Bosco Scholars isn’t a short process, but don’t let that deter you! Joining this program could be an amazing opportunity to help your college process flow smoothly, and an application and interview shouldn’t stop you from achieving that.
To access the application simply go into the junior class page where a link to the application should be posted. Please deliver your completed application to:
Attn: Don Bosco Scholars Program Director,
Don Bosco Community Center, 22 Don Bosco Place,
Port Chester, NY 10573.