Michael & Susan Dell Foundation logo

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, with a $1.35 million grant, has renewed its support for Let’s Get Ready, a Manhattan-based nonprofit that helps students who are historically underrepresented in higher education get into and graduate from college. The grant, invested over three years, will fund an expanded effort to ensure that Let’s Get Ready’s participants successfully attain their college degrees after enrollment. The grant builds upon a $1.1 million initial investment the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation made in 2014 to help Let’s Get Ready launch its College Success program.

“The success of our pilot grant to Let’s Get Ready reaffirms the enormous potential of the organization’s near-peer model to support students to persist in, and ultimately graduate from, college,” says Sara Levy, Program Officer, College Preparation & Completion at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. “We are thrilled to support Let’s Get Ready’s investment in infrastructure and programming as it scales to serve 15,000 students annually.”

To broaden and deepen its College Success services, Let’s Get Ready will allocate the new grant to building infrastructure and expanding services so that additional college students will benefit from dedicated mentoring. These improvements will bolster an already-proven continuum of services; Let’s Get Ready’s students graduate from college at five times the rate of the national average for students from low-income backgrounds.

Let’s Get Ready was founded in 1998 by Jeannie Lang Rosenthal, then a Harvard undergraduate, to help high school students from low-income backgrounds—often the first in their families to college—to get into a well-matched school (“College Access”). She found that college students, having recently applied to and enrolled in college, were well-equipped to mentor high school juniors and seniors, their “near-peers”.

Let’s Get Ready’s services, provided at no cost to students, begins with the College Access program. It includes SAT prep courses, campus visits, guidance on college essays and applications, help with financial aid forms, and counseling on college decisions. The College Success Program, through remote and in-person mentoring, focuses on helping students transition to campus life. It connects students to resources while helping them build the confidence, sense of belonging, and skills needed to attain their degree. Let’s Get Ready expects 2,800 of its students to graduate college in 2018.

“We are deeply grateful to The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation for this tremendous contribution to our work,” says Kathrine Mott, Let’s Get Ready’s Chief Executive Officer. “The grant represents a significant opportunity to help more underrepresented students graduate from college.”

College student mentors serving Let’s Get Ready’s College Success Program work out of Peer Success Sites, now active at 30 locations. The organization’s College Access programs for high school will be offered at 50 sites this year.