College Initiatives – Because of our mission to prepare the students of Houston for success in college, all students receive specific programming every year geared towards developing a college-going identity.
Class Trips – Students have the opportunity to participate in 3-5 day class trips to visit colleges throughout Texas and across the nation. By their senior year, students have typically visited over 20 college campuses. So that money is not a barrier for any of our students to participate in class trips, financial resources are available.
Individualized College Counseling – Since over 90% of our students will be first-generation college students, YES Prep provides individualized college counseling to guide each student and their family through the process of choosing schools that are a good match for them, applying to those schools, and planning for how to make their college path sustainable and affordable. Students also participate in seminar classes throughout high school to help prepare them for college. Click here to learn more.
Summer Opportunities – Internships, camps, and other summer programs are important ways for our students to gain the experiences that help make them college-ready. All of our campuses support our students to apply for Duke TIP in 7th grade, and then participate in summer experiences like NOLS and Outward Bound, go on a service trip to another country, or serve in an internship during high school.
Traditions Y ceremony – Early in the school year, each of our schools has a ceremony to publicly welcome the new sixth graders into the YES Prep family. At many campuses, it is a ‘Y’ ceremony where the youngest class officially ‘earns their Y’ and gets cheered on by the entire student body.
College Acceptance Rituals – Each campus has a unique ritual for celebrating each college acceptance letter our students receive. On our Southwest campus, for example, at a certain time each day seniors can come bang the Maverick Gong, which can be heard throughout campus. A student from each class then runs over to learn which college they were accepted to and returns to announce it to their class. Rituals like this one allow our students to celebrate each other and enable our youngest students to see how close and real their college dreams are.
Senior Signing Day – One of our favorite traditions, Senior Signing Day is an event where all of our graduating seniors stand up in front of their families, fellow students, and a crowd of over 10,000 to declare which college they’ll be attending. This event was inspired by the signing days typically held only for athletes and we felt like our students’ college plans deserved that kind of celebration!
Community Service – Since YES Prep began in 1998, community service has been a significant part of our students’ experience. Many of our campuses have long-standing relationships with community organizations and regular service days to work in and with the community.
District-wide Student Conferences – To connect students from across the city, we hold regular conferences to bring certain groups of students together to learn from each other and community members. This year, for example, we held a Latino Leadership Conference and Sisterhood and Brotherhood Summits for our African-American students.