As a youth serving organization, Oliver Scholars values social emotional learning as part of helping scholars to grow into self-actualizing adults. We want our scholars to have the skills needed to achieve a sense of belonging at their schools, a sense of resilience to overcome challenges that may arise, and a lifelong commitment to mental wellness and healthy relationships. Our mental wellness program is skills based and seeks to engage parents and consortium schools as partners in helping our scholars thrive academically and socially.
The goal of the College Bound Initiatives department is to lead the college search and application process, inspire Scholars to seek “best fit” colleges, collaborate with independent school counselors, educate and prepare families for the transition to college. While Scholars receive intensive support specifically geared toward preparing them for the college application process beginning in their junior year, Oliver is intentional in creating a college-going culture and building college readiness skills beginning in middle school through high school.
Partner Schools are vital to unlocking opportunity for our scholars. Since its founding, Oliver has been committed to building long-term relationships with rigorous and prestigious college preparatory schools.
100% of students visited at least two colleges they applied to 90% of students attend Top Colleges and Universities.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTNERSHIP—WE COULD NOT DO THIS WORK WITHOUT YOU.
Read testimonials from our scholars and parents to learn how Oliver Scholars has unlocked opportunities, made an impact on their lives, and helped them to Outdream. Outdo and Outshine.
Jaylynn Cortes is a senior at the Nightingale-Bamford School in New York City. She joined the Oliver Scholars Program in 2017, gaining the necessary tools to become an active member in her community and a strong force in the classroom. She became proficient in critical reading, time management, and productive studying skills. During the 14-month program, the relationships she formed with both fellow students and staff was vital in helping her pursue her passions. At Nightingale, she is co-head of the Athletic Board, captain of the Varsity Basketball and Varsity Softball teams, member of the History Student Advisory Council, head of Tour Guides, and is a Freshman Peer Leader. Through her school’s career readiness summer program, she interned at Atalaya Capital Management, a wealth management firm. After experiencing the tight-knit community at the Nightingale-Bamford School (populated with only 200 Upper Schoolers) she feels prepared to attend the bustling campus life of Yale University, where she will study Ethics, Politics, and Economics. She chose Yale for its emphasis on community building through residential colleges, as well as its liberal arts focus. Although she loves the city, she’s excited for the change of environment and pace that college will offer. Jaylynn is immensely grateful for Oliver Scholars’ guidance and support; the program has truly shaped who she is today and helped her realize her full potential.
Sulayman Bah is a senior attending the Kiski School in Saltsburgs, Pennsylvania. After joining Oliver Scholars in 2017, he immediately experienced first hand how different and life-changing the program was going to be for him. When choosing to attend the Kiski School, Oliver Scholars was such a crucial piece of this process. His parents were notified whenever schools were in the area so he could easily complete in person interviews and as a result, he has developed better habits of note taking, studying, and were better prepared and motivated for high school. His passion and dedication to wrestling has opened so many doors and given him many opportunities that he is so grateful for. During his time at Kiski, he has held the roles of Wrestling Captain, Culture Pot Vice President, Dorm Head RA, Prefect, and now is currently the Head Prefect. As he wraps up his senior year Sulayman shared how excited he is to come back home to New York City and to attend Columbia University. One of the primary reasons he chose Columbia was because of the opportunity to make history for New York City in New York City. All in all, Sulayman expresses his gratitude that all of this is possible because his parents believed in Oliver Scholars, which in turn made him believe.
Becoming an Oliver Scholar was one of the best decisions I could’ve made in my academic journey. When I first entered the program, I was challenged both academically and socially and came out with lifelong friendships. My family and I committed to commuting from the Bronx to Connecticut every day, making sacrifices to ensure I had the best educational opportunity. Entering high school I realized the program not only prepared me for the rigorous academics, but also for the challenges of social transition that comes with being a new student of color in a predominantly white institution. I didn’t let these challenges stop me from exploring my passions and taking advantage of all of the opportunities that had been afforded to me as soon as I entered the space. Since beginning at Greenwich Academy I have been a Vice President of my school’s Varsity Dance Company, President of the Hip Hop Dance Club and Diversity Outreach Project and Enrichment (D.O.P.E.) Club, run for student government every year since freshman year and was elected as Community Service Board Representative and Diversity Equity and Inclusion Board Representative. I have been a School Ambassador, a Peer leader, a member of Tyne Gospel Choir, and a Makeup Designer for my school’s theater program, all this whilst taking Honors Courses and APs and maintaining Honor Roll and High Honor Roll all four years. Oliver was a constant support and had ingrained in us early on the importance of taking advantage of all of these opportunities and keeping Scholarship, Leadership, and Service at the core of it all. Without people like my Scholar Counselor Massiel and other staff I’ve built relationships with like Dr. Franklin, Randy, and the rest of the Oliver team, I would not be here reflecting on my accomplishments and realizing that I am an example of an Oliver Scholar that Outdreams, Outdoes, and Outshines.
As a parent of a current Oliver Scholar attending a boarding school, I can testify that the program not only prepared my daughter since day one to get into an independent school but has also been supporting her academic success and well-being. While attending Deerfield Academy, she had the opportunity to travel to London to improve and learn new painting and drawing techniques. Furthermore, the program still guides my daughter in continuing a higher education advising and providing guidance with the college application process. Thanks to all members of the Oliver Program who have been working harder to maintain a partnership with independent schools. I am so grateful to be part of Oliver’s family because they have always been very informative and supportive. My daughter is receiving a better education and great opportunities as a result of Oliver Scholars’ dedication to her success.
Isabella Ordonez – Deerfield Academy ‘24
Being an Oliver Scholar has allowed our daughter to be a part of a legacy connecting her to other students of color, instilled with a strong sense of cultural pride and an active commitment to the community. The boarding school experience has broadened her horizons to include international friendships, a place of leadership as a dorm monitor, and fostered her independence as a critical thinker in an evolving world. The prospects of Ivy League and out-of-state HBCU (Historically Black College/University) higher education now seem obtainable after striving in an academic environment that traditionally has only been available to those of a higher income bracket.
Kim Famous & Cesar Reyes, parents of Isabella Reyes-Famous, Taft School ‘24