College Mentoring

Freedom & Citizenship College Mentoring

In addition to the services offered to all DDC students listed below, F&C participants receive one-on-one college mentoring from Columbia undergraduates and alumni as well as letters of recommendation to college from their professors. Nearly 100% of F&C graduates are accepted to and attend colleges the semester following high school graduation. In recent years, F&C students have been accepted to out-of-state schools including Brown, Georgetown, the University of Pennsylvania, Brandeis, and Vanderbilt. Within New York, we have students at Columbia, New York University, Fordham, Syracuse, and throughout the CUNY and SUNY systems.

Our Graduates Have Gone to College At:


From our students...

"The Freedom and citizenship program changed my way of thinking-- it opened my mind and provided me with the tools I needed to shape my...political discourse...Not only was I able to notice this, but the University of Rochester, the school I currently attend, noticed it as well;

it was one thing to feel that F&C made an impact on my admission but it was even greater to see it mentioned on my acceptance letter as a 'contributing factor to my acceptance.'"

-Ronny Llerena, Freedom and Citizenship 2015

Girls at graduation

Double Discovery Center

All students accepted to Freedom and Citizenship are eligible for all the college advisory services of the Roger Lehecka Double Discovery Center. Established in 1965, the DDC was begun by undergraduates at Columbia and Barnard who wanted to address the disparity of opportunity between the students at the Ivy League institution and those at neighboring high schools in Harlem. Since then, the DDC has helped more than 15,000 New York City students graduate high school and attend college. More than 90% of students enrolled in DDC programming graduate high school on time and enter college the following fall--far surpassing city, state, and national outcomes for low-income, first-generation, minority students. Students from the F&C summer of 2010 conducted an oral history of the DDC in celebration of its 45th year which can be found here

The DDC's Upward Bound and Talent Search programs are funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education. 

DDC Services

  • Tutoring: One-on-one and small group in all academic subjects
  • Classes/Labs: Small group classes, mini-courses and science lab exposure
  • Test Prep: Small group and individual standardized test prep, including the SAT and Regents exams
  • Workshops: Small and large group activities to develop college, career, leadership, and life skills awareness
  • Counseling: Academic, college, career, financial aid and youth development
  • College trips: and daily access to the college prep library, internet-capable computers, and the Center’s professional staff

Students not yet eligible for Freedom and Citizenship are encouraged to apply to the Double Discovery Center to increase their chance of admittance into F&C in the summer before their senior year of high school.