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Program helps prepare low-income students for success at some of the nation's top colleges

The Hub

April 8, 2019

The Johns Hopkins CTY Scholars Class of 2019 is made up of 35 high school seniors from around the country. Many of them come from single-parent families, or unsafe neighborhoods, or work part-time jobs to help their families make ends meet. Their average household income is $36,000.

These same students are also top-ranked in their high school classes. This spring, as colleges release their acceptance decisions, they are learning that their hard work will lead them to some of the most selective universities in the world. Five CTY Scholars have been accepted to Johns Hopkins University, while others are headed to Columbia, NYU, Princeton, and Yale this fall.

The CTY Scholars Program, offered through the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, is for students underrepresented in higher education. They apply as eighth-graders and are selected based on grades, household income, and an interview. Accepted students receive four years of personalized academic and college advising, tour colleges, and take CTY's advanced courses throughout high school, all on scholarship. More than 700 students have participated in the program since it was founded in 2004; many are the first in their families to attend college.

CTY Scholar Brianna Ruiz, from Montebello, California, said the program has helped her envision a future beyond the expectations set for her at an early age.

"As a Latina who's been told she needs to start cleaning and cooking as soon as possible, that isn't exactly the biggest source of motivation," she said. "By having access to an amazing mentor that's been at my side for the past four years, I've been guided to take the right steps that I wouldn't have known otherwise."