In 2016, under the Mayor’s College Access for All, CUNY Explorers was launched as a partnership between CUNY’s Office of K-16 Initiatives and the New York City Department of Education. CUNY Explorers began as an opportunity to expose every 7th grade student to a college-going culture and to give them the chance to visit a college campus at least once. Since then, CUNY Explorers has expanded to provide campus experiences to all middle schoolers and, as of 2021, high school workshops for 9th and 10th graders. The driving message of CUNY Explorers has stayed the same: every student CAN go to college, every student can AFFORD college, and students and their families can take steps NOW to become college-ready.
Why CUNY Explorers?
Early college readiness programs like CUNY Explorers set the foundation for success in high school, college, and beyond. By supporting students to develop a college identity at a critical developmental age and providing a campus experience that promotes a college-going mindset, students and families internalize the message that college is a necessary and achievable goal.
Past activities have included:
Examination and dissection of a fetal piglet at Bronx Community College
Dental hygiene demonstration and tour of a patient care clinic at City Tech
Extraction of DNA from a strawberry at Queensborough Community College
Nautical knot-tying and a tour of an engine room with Kingsborough Community College’s Maritime Technology program
Flight simulation demonstration and a tour of the Robotics Room with the Aviation Institute at York College
In the 2020-2021 academic year during the COVID-19 pandemic, CUNY Explorers provided interactive and engaging virtual campus experiences for over 34,000 students across 14 CUNY campuses.
CUNY Explorers has hosted up to 70,000 middle school students annually during in-person visits. On an average day, approximately 150 students could be found exploring the wonders of CUNY and imagining themselves as future college students.
Schools in District 75, District 79, and those with high numbers of English Language Learners are provided tailored support through partnerships with campus accessibility and resource offices.