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To Help Them Achieve: The Academic Talent Search Project 1966-68, Part II

In the Fall of 1964, (armed with a Rockefeller Foundation grant) Brooklyn College’s School of General Studies launched a 42 student pilot program using Bowker’s model, which it called the “Academic Talent Search Project” or “ATSP.” The ATSP students were recent graduates from Brooklyn academic high schools in poverty areas. They had academic diplomas, but low high school grade point averages (pp. 3, 7). They were provisionally admitted until they could demonstrate academic success. ATSP “was designed to explore whether students with apparent college potential, but without the required academic standards for admission, could succeed in college despite financial and cultural deprivation in terms of middle-class values” (p. 7). No new students were added in later semesters; ATSP instead tracked these 42 students for four years.

Brooklyn’s modest program demonstrated the complex barriers to racial integration within a conservative, white, four-year college. By 1968, ATSP’s closing report was forced to state “unequivocally that many people at the College believe the Project to have been a failure” (p. 27). After two years, 27 of the 42 ATSP students (64%) returned for a fifth semester. But their GPAs were low, averaging only 1.8 (about a C-) in their first year when they studied in small segregated tutorial groups and 1.2 (just over a D) in their second year when they entered mainstream classes. Also after two years, only one ATSP student had been fully matriculated as a regular student (pp. 14, 18). Eleven more students dropped out in the next two years, leaving only 16 of 42 (38%) in college after eight semesters.

By 1968, only four ATSP students had been fully matriculated. Others persisted, but with low grade point averages. By fall of 1968, only one ATSP student had graduated and counselors believed that six more would likely eventually graduate, a potential success rate of 7 out of 42 (16.6%) (pp. 21-22). In June of 1966, ATSP was not mentioned in CUNY’s revised Master Plan (Board, 1966, June, p. 29). (This copy excludes postscript, appendices and and footnotes.)

Source | CUNY Central Archives
Creator | Furcron, Margaret
Date Created | 1968
Rights | Public Domain.
Item Type | Text (Report / Paper / Proposal)
Cite This document | Furcron, Margaret, “To Help Them Achieve: The Academic Talent Search Project 1966-68, Part II,” CUNY Digital History Archive, accessed November 30, 2023,

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