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College Retention Specialist

Posted by
Red Hook Initiative | Brooklyn, NY

Red Hook Initiative

Published 8 days ago

Summary/Description: The College Retention Specialist supports young adults (18 to 24 years old) to achieve their educational goals beginning when they are in high school and are considering whether college is the right fit. Working closely with the Young Adult Program Manager, they develop, manage, and facilitate the College Scholars Program (CS) and provide educational advocacy.  This position provides a creative, compassionate, persistent person with the opportunity to be a part of a strong network of critical support that helps Red Hook youth, many of whom are first-generation college students, focus on the path to a college graduation. 

College Retention support during Quarantine: 

RHI continues to serve the Red Hook community in this time of quarantine with an acute awareness of the risks posed by COVID-19. At this time we are focused on protecting the health of our participants, families, and staff. As of March 13, and for the foreseeable future, our building is closed but our staff are working remotely to support the College Scholars and all young adults in the neighborhood through non-contact work. The responsibilities of the individual in this role remain the same in this time, however, during quarantine interim the College Retention Specialist will be expected to emphasize their focus on the following: 

Academic Services will be focused on: 

  1. Outreach and retention to out of contact college scholars 
  2. Support Programmatic planning for rising first-year scholars through a pre-college summer institute via virtual learning. 
  3. College Scholar Deliberation of transfer and/or matriculation during COVID-19 epidemic
  4. College Scholar Applications or transfer documents 
  5. Research on the status of the status of virtual learning/ in-person learning at public and private academic institutions
  6. Support of College Scholars unresolved Financial Aid or Bursar Concerns
  7. Provision of Advocacy calls  to the academic institution in matters that affect scholar success and retention 
  8. Updates and Info-sharing with the scholar on matters impacting retention
  9. 1:1 Goal setting with the scholars
  10. Scholarship application support. (Academic or personal scholarships/grants)  


Facilitate Access to College

  • Collaborate with high school staff to implement RHI’s college access, awareness, and readiness programming via event-planning and pre-college summer institute facilitation
  • Conduct workshops for parents and students on college access and transition. 

Provide individual support toward college persistence

  • Establish relationships and outreach regularly to RHI young adults enrolled in college to ensure they are on track to graduate with a two or four-year degree. 
  • Foster connections between college students and the school community in order to support student navigation of resources, including accessing financial aid and scholarships, tutoring, mental health support, and other relevant resources toward achieving independence. 
  • Refer college scholars to Young Adult Social Workers to support mental health needs using approaches such as motivational interviewing, mental health first aid, screening referrals, case-conferencing, and group counseling. 

Create a community of peer support around a college-going culture

  • Develop services, activities, and new initiatives to keep college-bound and focused young adults connected with the RHI community.
  • Create and maintain communication systems for college scholar mutual support and community-building via online and in-person methods
  • Collaborate with the employment team to identify relevant work and internship opportunities for Scholars (summer internships, job shadowing within their field, mentoring, etc.)

Educational  Advocacy

  • Provide educational advocacy for young people and families  (support youth to secure transcripts and meet with guidance counselors, provide referrals to educational testing, etc.)
  • Develop and maintain a network of CUNY, SUNY, public and private academic institutions to provide access to support scholar and collect student data as needed 
  • Coach young adults to re-engage with the educational system to meet their academic goals (re-enroll in college, matriculation, transfer schools, etc.)
  • Maintain accurate service data entry and goal-tracking detailing the progress of each advocacy case; keep RHI’s program database (Salesforce) updated.
  • Plan and conduct workshops around issues relating to education and educational advocacy.


  • Generate regular reports in support of grant outcomes measurement and scholar key performance indicators including updates on progress, evaluations, and database entry.
  • Coordinate RHI’s College Retention Fund in collaboration with the program manager
  • Network to maintain and grow RHI’s list of partners related to academic and specialized educational needs.
  • Collaborate with the other team members at RHI  to implement participant-led action plans and transition into an appropriate education or job development program. 

Skills, Knowledge and Abilities: 

  • Strong verbal/written communication.
  • Embraces a strengths-based approach to work with youth. 
  • Ability to work and design programming independently.
  • Knowledge of New York City public education system, the college application process, and college retention methods.
  • Ability to guide and plan with college facilitation consultants
  • Experience with event-planning and willingness to collaborate on projects, and build the team for efficacy.
  • Ability to research and develop educational opportunities and guidelines.

Experience and Qualifications: 

  • Bachelor’s Degree 
  • 2 years of experience in college access or success planning in an academic environment (i.e. special education, NYC Dept. of Education, college access work).
  • First-hand experience with youth programming and /or working with first-generation college students preferred. 
  • 2 years of case management experience working with youth and families, preferred.
  • Red Hook resident or prior involvement with the Red Hook community, preferred.
  • Bilingual (English/Spanish) preferred

To Apply: To apply, please send resume, cover letter and salary requirements to with “College Retention Specialist” in the subject line.

Summary/Description: The College Retention Specialist supports young adults (18 to 24 years old) to achieve their educational goals beginning when they are in high school and are considering whether college is the right fit. Working…

Details at a glance

  • On-site Location
  • Full Time Schedule
  • 4-Year Degree Required


767 Hicks Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231

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