The Urban Assembly College Access and Success program develops high school college counselors’ capacity to work effectively and efficiently with students to mitigate the barriers and challenges they face during the college, and develops systems and structures to ensure students’ post-secondary completion.

The Urban Assembly College Access and Success program achieves its goal through these sub-programs:

College Access Counselors’ Community: Through consistent meetings, workshops, and access to the UA College Counselor hotline, college counselors share best practices, learn from experts at the UA and in the field, and engage as a community to better understand the critical deadlines and content needed to counsel and support students.

College Counselor Coaching: This program develops and supports new and experienced college counselors through intensive and dynamic coaching so they can, in turn, support their students.

Bridge to College : Since 2009, The Urban Assembly has been improving upon our Bridge to College program to help high school graduates enroll in college. The majority of UA students live in poverty and are the first in their family to apply to college. Many of our students are tasked with getting to college on their own. In response to this need for support, the UA has created a program that is scaling up beyond our network of schools and has potential for impact as a model for urban districts across the nation.

College Success Texting Program: The College Success Texting Program was launched in the fall of 2016. The program supports 1,000 UA high school graduates each year through its strategically delivered text messages, which students receive twice per month for two years. These text messages are tailored to support students irrespective of their chosen postsecondary path - college or otherwise. During the fall semester, text messages focus on increasing alumni engagement and facilitating postsecondary navigation. In the spring semester, text messages focus on sharing useful and applicable resources and facilitating advocacy. Texting is an effective tool to increase college success because it fits well with our students’ preferred and most utilized form of communication

The Urban Assembly College Access and Success Team works to ensure all Urban Assembly students have access to college or the post-secondary pathway of their choice. Each high school has a full-time college counselor supported by the team. To systematize and streamline parts of the college application process, Urban Assembly subsidizes Naviance for all high schools to track and submit applications. The Urban Assembly College Access and Success Team provides ongoing coaching and professional development of school-based staff. We work to connect schools with colleges and programs that support our students to thrive after high school. The Urban Assembly College Access and Success Team employs the following key service strategies:

  • Develop the capacity of each school to provide comprehensive and effective college planning
  • Leverage the strength of the network to provide opportunities to individual Urban Assembly schools
  • Support Urban Assembly graduates after high school: Deliver targeted summer matriculation support to each Urban Assembly graduate through the Bridge to College Program.

College is life. It gives you the chance to step out of your comfort zone, find yourself and your passion.

Phalisty, Bronx Academy of Letters Alumnus 2013 and UA Bridge To College Coach

Team Members

  • Angelina Lorenzo graduated from the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in 2014, and she earned her BS in Public Affairs from Baruch College in 2018. From 2014-2018, she participated in the UA's Bridge to College program first as a coach and then as a coordinator. In her current role, she supports UA alumni through our texting campaign, assists with the implementation of Bridge to College, and develops tools and resources that alumni and bridge coaches use to navigate their post-secondary lives.

  • As Deputy Director of College Access, Robyn works to support and develop the college counselors across the UA's network of schools. A New York native, Robyn has provided college access support to NYC non-profit organizations for over 10 years. Prior to coming to the UA, Robyn was the Director of College Counseling as part of an inaugural team of educators at a 6 – 12 public school in the Bronx. Robyn works to ensure students not only have access to higher education, but the skills needed to succeed and graduate. Robyn earned a BA in Journalism and a Masters in Higher Education from the University of Maine. Robyn is also an active member of CACNY, NYSACAC and NACAC.

  • Cassie Magesis has been at the Urban Assembly since 2012 and serves as UA's Director of College Access and Success. She comes to UA from the Options Center at Goddard Riverside Community Center where she served as an Educational Counselor and Trainer for the Options Institute. She is the President of the New York State Association for College Admission Counseling. Cassie is a graduate of Hamilton College (BA) and Baruch College (MPA)