As a child, Rebeca Lafond was aware of the hardships faced by her parents, both Haitian immigrants with limited English proficiency. She figured out early on that going to college would unlock the path to success, and with her family’s encouragement she pursued higher education with a steely resolve. “I watched my parents growing up and I’ve seen them suffer in many ways to help me and my siblings. I refused to disappoint them and not reap their harvest.”

Rebeca felt the pressure of the looming SAT, but she lacked the financial means to pay for private tutoring or for-profit prep courses. “My mother was the only one working and she had 3 kids to provide for. I did not want to be a burden for her,” she recalls. “One evening I Googled ‘Free SAT prep in NYC’ and went down a list of different options. I saw Let’s Get Ready and read its mission statement, watched the student testimonials, and applied.” Signing up for the program was a turning point for realizing her college aspirations.

Let’s Get Ready’s Access Coaches primed Rebeca for the SAT, walking her through the Common Application, advising her on financial aid, and providing close guidance on the dreaded college essay. She remembers how one coach, Amanda, went above and beyond the call of duty, following up outside of class, teaching students how to “hook” a reader with their essays, and capitalizing on Rebecca’s competitive nature by incorporating Jeopardy-style games into her lessons. “I still remember how amazing Amanda was,” says Rebeca.

Despite the obstacles, Rebeca was accepted by some of her top schools, including Pace, Adelphi, and St. John’s. She chose Brooklyn College and is now a sophomore. She has has stepped into the role of Site Director for Let’s Get Ready, providing the same inspiration she received as a beneficiary. “Let’s Get Ready is an amazing program,” she says. “It not only helps you prepare for the SAT, but also to apply for, get into, and graduate from college. It’s a network of people aiming to help you succeed.”

On campus, Rebeca is a leader in several clubs and is on the Advisory Committee of Brooklyn College for Campus Safety. She is earning a 3.5 GPA and already setting her sights on law school.