Brookdale Community College’s College Readiness program is making significant strides at Keansburg High School in closing the achievement gap and providing equal access to quality education for its students. The program, funded by a grant from the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, aims to prepare students in grades 8-12 for college by removing barriers and offering academic opportunities.

“The partnership with Brookdale College has been crucial,” said Keansburg District Guidance Coordinator Jennifer O’Keefe. “We see a lot more students sticking with school and taking on other challenges after participating in this program. I enjoyed working with Brookdale, and I think the course has been great for our students. Our goal is to have more seniors take this course and gain college-level experience before they leave.”

This program offers a diverse range of initiatives to support students in their journey toward college readiness. Among the offerings are test preparation courses that help students to avoid remediation and become college ready in English, reading, and math. Furthermore, the program provides student success courses designed to equip students with essential skills.

“Professor Sabrina Mathues, assistant professor in Innovation and Learning Resources and coordinator of College Readiness’s student success courses, was so supportive and helpful with the first class. She worked well with all the students and gave them the time and attention they needed, even when it was conducted remotely,” said O’Keefe. “The tutors, provided by Brookdale, who worked with the students were amazing. They provided effective feedback and were responsive to help the students stay on track.”

One of the courses offered is HUDV 107 – First Year Seminar, a 1-credit, 10-week course that enables students to identify and practice skills necessary for success in both high school and college. The other is CSSC 105 – College Success Seminar, a 3-credit course designed to promote academic self-efficacy and help students apply critical thinking and use information literacy skills. It also focuses on career planning.

“I want to be a software engineer when I grow up, and I thought this class could help me learn valuable lessons for college and my future,” said Jaden Arenas, one of the Brookdale/Keansburg students who completed CSSC 105.

The College Readiness program collaborates with ten high schools and community partners, including Lunch Break in Red Bank and the Boys and Girls Club of Asbury Park. These partnerships help extend the program’s impact and reach a wider range of students.

“I think this program is great for all our students because it rounds out their college applications and shows that they were held to a college standard in high school,” said Keansburg’s District Director of Operations, Curriculum, and Instruction, State & Federal Programs Christine Formica. “Our goal is to build our students’ confidence and prepare them for college by giving them skills and college classroom experiences, as well as college credits before they leave.”

“We had about 26 students in the first program, and they all did very well. Their grades improved,” said O’Keefe “These students have demonstrated exceptional dedication and hard work throughout their participation in the program, and all of them have successfully earned one credit in the HUDV 107 course.”

The latest cohort in the CSSC 105 class is a dedicated group of students who have shown a commitment to their academic journeys. They include Jaiden Arenas; Julisa Banks; Opelia Brennan; Gabrielle Cleary; Nuri Ozmen; Gabriella Rivera; Lindsay Rivera; Helen Rodriguez; Iliyah Traymon; and Tucker, Nevaeh.

The Keansburg College Readiness program is open to all students starting their first year to prepare them for Advance Placement (AP) courses and future dual enrollment and Early College opportunities.

For further information, please contact Assistant Director of Brookdale’s College Readiness Sheri Stanford at or Jennifer O’Keefe at