Skip to Main Content

‘Summer Exposure’ Pre-College Programs Help Scholars Thrive

Side by side photo of two HCZ Promise Academy scholars participating in a Summer Exposure Opportunity

Tatiana, a senior at Harlem Children’s Zone Promise Academy, wanted to be an orthodontist — at least she thought so. Figuring out your career at 17 can be challenging.

But after participating in our Summer Exposure Opportunity — a pre-college program that provides high school scholars with firsthand experience of being in college and building their careers — the decision became a lot clearer. 

“I really enjoyed my program because I got a closer look at what it’s like to be a medical professional,” says Tatiana, who completed Marist College’s Summer Pre-College: Pre-Health Program. “It made me realize, this is something I really want to do. I truly enjoy helping people.”

Our scholars may be a few years away from starting college and their careers. But when they do take that step, the Summer Exposure Opportunity will have equipped them with the knowledge and experience to hit the ground running. Through this pre-college program, scholars get a feel for college and professional life — taking courses on college campuses and/or participating in career experiences (opportunities at community, non-profit, and for-profit programs are also available). 

Like all our offerings at HCZ Promise Academy (including our Center for Higher Education and Career Support), the Summer Exposure Opportunity helps all our scholars thrive in college, build successful careers, and pave the path to social and economic mobility.

Support for planning and costs

At HCZ Promise Academy, all eligible rising seniors are required to take a Summer Exposure Opportunity. Each scholar works with their counselor to identify a pre-college program that aligns with their career aspirations. Then, once scholars apply to and get accepted to a program, HCZ Promise Academy supports them and their families with the planning and costs.

Our scholars rave about their experiences in the Summer Exposure Opportunity. 

“The campus was really beautiful and the classes I took challenged me,” Tatiana says of her experience at Marist College. “I really enjoyed my professor; she was extremely nice and understood my needs when I asked for help.”


‘I have the confidence to always be myself’

Beyond the academic benefits, Tatiana gained comfort in the idea of being in college and confidence in her ability to own the experience. 

“I made lifelong friends and everyone was super nice,” she says. “I was the only Black girl in the program, but I realized that it’s okay because even if I am the only person who looks like me in the room, I have the confidence to always be myself.” 


Prepared to thrive in college and beyond

When you’re a junior, the idea of starting college can feel overwhelming. But when the time comes, our scholars are prepared to thrive — in college, in their careers, and anywhere else their journey takes them.

Says Tatiana, “I would rate my experience at Marist a 10/10, and I would definitely recommend it. I can’t wait for this next step in my life and career.”