Stacey Lopez, Student, KIPP NYC College Prep High School Class of 2021; Yale University Class of 2025


Carlosluis Perez, College Counselor, KIPP NYC College Prep High School

In a school year that has been drastically altered by the COVID pandemic, college counseling is no exception. Rites of passage like campus tours and high school info sessions from admissions staff have moved online. In fact, many students will step foot on campus in the fall of 2021 without ever having visited their college.

Despite these limitations, KIPP NYC College Prep High School’s senior class are being admitted to their first-choice schools – some of the most highly selective colleges and universities in the country. Seventeen students (out of 22 who applied) were accepted early to schools such as Cornell, Dartmouth, Davidson, Dickinson, Duke, Gettysburg, Harvard, Lehigh, Rochester, Skidmore, and Yale.

Stacey Lopez, who was admitted early to Yale, has not been to New Haven since her freshman year. This was a minor hurdle compared to when she emigrated from the Dominican Republic and needed to learn English as a student at KIPP Infinity Middle School. Nevertheless, Stacey was able to make an informed choice because Yale’s programs and financial aid match well with what she is seeking in a college:

“I wasn’t looking at the brand – I was looking at ‘Yale the college that supports its students’. Having those other peers to help you grow. Having the support from the deans and the upperclassmen. Yale has a unique residential system where you meet people from all over the world who have different cultures than you. Yale was a really good financial match for me – I got a full scholarship. There’s also the academic aspect of it. Yale has a major called the History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health. I hope to go into the medical field in the future.” – Stacey

The strategy around matching a student with a college is a critical element of the admissions process, particularly in a year when an in-person visit may be impossible. Carlosluis Perez, College Counselor at KIPP NYC College Prep High School, lists a college’s graduation rate, support systems, and financial aid capabilities, along with the student’s academic profile, as key inputs into the match calculation. In terms of matching students for early decision (ED) applications, he shared that:

“We work with a list of ED schools that meet full need, and that are very supportive of our students. From that list, we look at what students want to do and the environments they are looking for. We then suggest a few options for them. Students then decide which are the best options for them. We want students to apply to schools that have pre-college programs. It starts prior to senior year – they have an idea of what they are looking for.” – Carlosluis

The caliber of the high school that applicants attend is a key determinant of the admissions decision. KIPP NYC College Prep has invested heavily in a rigorous, college preparatory curriculum and a breadth of co-curriculars and enrichment experiences to prepare its students for the challenges and opportunities they will encounter in college. It is exciting to hear from Carlosluis about what admissions staff think about College Prep High School.

“They think really highly of us. When I transitioned to KIPP, [college admissions staff] congratulated me because [KIPP NYC College Prep] produces really good students who are succeeding on our campus. They are also impressed by our AP curriculum. On top of that, we offer Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) classes. We also offer a partnership through SUNY Albany.” – Carlosluis

While Stacey laments what she is missing this year, from seeing friends in-person to participating in the rituals of the last year of high school, she remains optimistic and thankful for the path that she has traveled to get to this point. She has this advice for students:

“I’m bummed out that I’m missing those opportunities, but take advantage of every opportunity. KIPP has amazing programs that are aimed to help students succeed. One of the reasons why I’m here today is because of all of these opportunities and I’m so grateful for that.” – Stacey