SUMMIT, NJ - The Summit Area YMCA recently partnered with the Summit Free Public Library to host the Second Annual College Speaker Series, wherein experts from around the state of New Jersey came to present topics on the college admissions process, life and learning at a research university, as well as the importance of tests in the college application process.

Speakers included: Jessica Taub, Metrowest Partner of Private Prep; Zachary Browzer, Admissions Representative from Montclair University; and Annette Mardarasz and Jordan Cohen, Admissions Representative and Tour Guide from Rutgers University.

The College Speaker Series is a part of the Summit Area YMCA’s Achievers Program, an extension of The Y's stated mission to strengthen the community by providing meaningful programming and services which includes the educational development of youth and creating opportunities for children and teens to learn, grow and thrive.

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“Over the past year, the 'Y Achievers' program has helped me prepare for college with SAT prep, time management skills and reviewing potential colleges. It broadened my thoughts on career paths and provided exposure to real-life work experiences through the Novartis Mentoring Program.” said Jeannie-Marie, an alumni of the Y Achievers program. “The Y staff took the time to help us figure out our individual passions. The Achievers program guides you along the way to a bright future and I am going to college with confidence because I am prepared.”

The 'Y Achievers' program is an academic achievement and career development initiative focused on helping teens set and pursue educational and career goals, resulting in graduation and acceptance to an institution of higher learning. At the Summit YMCA, 'Y Achievers' expands on this goal by providing developmentally based mentorship and workshop activities designed to give 9th - 12th grade students the tools they need to succeed in college and beyond. As part of the program, students meet every other week to discuss topics such as interview skills, resume building, choosing the right college, etc. They also often host business professionals who are invited to share their expertise. Finally, Achievers students also benefit from three college tours annually, with two local trips as well as one overnight.

As Speaker Series participant Taub reflected, "We believe that the road to college doesn't have to be a stressful one.  Stress can be minimized by arming yourself with the right information, starting the process early, and creating a timeline and testing strategy that's in the best interest of the student."

For more information about the Achiever’s program, visit thesay.org/achievers or contact Julie Wagenblast at 908-273-3330, ext. 1140 or via at julie.wagenblast@thesay.org.