Since 2002, Forster-Thomas, Inc, a NYC-based educational consulting firm, has been dedicated to helping at-risk youth gain access to first-rate colleges and universities. In 2008, Evan Forster, founder of Forster-Thomas, was asked to speak for 45 minutes about writing compelling college admissions essays to 40 low-income, underserved high school seniors at a Brooklyn, NY charter school. As he closed what had turned into a two-hour, interactive discussion about topic choices, “telling the truth,” and “digging down deep”—now the hallmarks of Essay Busters—the students, some high achievers, but mostly mid-range achievers, began to ask, “So, when’re you coming back?” and so did the overworked guidance counselors.
These underserved students wanted and needed more help. But what was clear that day was that it was not merely the top performers who were asking for “more.” The stunning part of that afternoon was that the middle-performing, academically average students were the ones asking for more help—but unlike their high-performing classmates, they had nowhere to go. They simply weren’t academically strong enough to get help from The Posse Foundation or wonderful organizations like it, nor were there dedicated guidance counselors to give them the necessary focus in and on the college application process.
Two months later, Forster-Thomas enlisted the support of that school’s overworked and overwhelmed guidance counselors and 30 young professionals who returned to lend a hand and became part of the first Essay Busters program. In 2012, our extraordinary mentors began the process of transforming Essay Busters into a non-profit entity.
With your help, we literally are The Little Engine That Can.