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South Central Scholars

  • South Central Scholars
  • 29000 S. Western Ave.
    Suite 207
  • Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
  • 310-833-1670
  • 2001

Program Description

South Central Scholars (SCS) identifies motivated and gifted students from inner city, disadvantaged communities throughout Los Angeles, to provide a bridge scholarship for their college education.

SCS now works with over 90 high schools to find students with the potential to succeed in college and life. Given their background, less than 50% of these students are expected to graduate from college. With our programs, support, and volunteer networks, 99% of SCS students graduate from the leading colleges and universities in the country. Additionally, nearly 80% of students plan to pursue graduate programs. SCS has supported over 900 students to date.

There continues to be significant inequities in educational opportunities in Los Angeles. South Central Scholars students come from some of the lowest performing high schools in Los Angeles. Despite this, SCS students matriculate into the best universities in the world, including all of the Ivy League colleges, many private liberal arts colleges, and all of the UC campuses.

Recruitment: SCS visits high schools during the school year to provide college readiness information to over 2,000 high school students throughout the county. SCS offers its own college fair, application workshops, and a two-day conference during the summer to address career exploration, study techniques, job preparation, graduate school, and networking.

Enrollment: The admissions process is competitive and the scholarship application is comprehensive. Students are selected based on class rank, national test scores, personal statements, extracurricular activities, and high school GPA. In 2013, less than 40% of students that applied to SCS were selected.

Support through College: SCS leverages every donated dollar and a growing network of over 250 volunteers to ensure the retention and college completion of its students. Through the Bridge Scholarship Program, SCS has donated over $4 million in scholarships, as well as stipends for internships and study abroad. Through the Mentorship Program, SCS has paired over 100 students with professionals that act as mentors and career coaches, helping students to navigate the college experience and career development. Lastly, through the Jobs & Internships Program, SCS places students in on-the-job experiences with corporations, small businesses, and private practices. To date, SCS has placed students in nearly 100 different internship and full-time positions.

The Alumni Association: The Alumni often return to South Central Los Angeles to mentor younger students, as well as to assist in overall SCS program efforts. The SCS Alumni Association has a membership of over 300 graduates that now attend graduate school or have full-time employment. Over 30% of SCS students have gone on to professional or graduate schools, including Harvard Medical and Harvard Law School, Loyola Law School, and Stanford Medical School. More importantly, scholars that graduate from college have formed an Alumni Association. Fully employed alumni work for companies like Price Waterhouse Coopers, Cedars-Sinai Hospital, Northrop Grumman, Black Rock, Goldman Sachs, Teach for America, McKenzie and Accenture.

The SCS Board of Directors pays 100% of the overhead expenses of the organization. Therefore, 100 % of every donated dollar and grant contribution goes directly to a student in the form of scholarships and programs.

Services Provided

  • Academic enrichment/tutoring/study skills
  • Career exploration and counseling/internships
  • College admissions guidance and counseling
  • College fairs/campus visits
  • College transition and retention support
  • Community service/service hours
  • Financial aid advising/FAFSA completion
  • Leadership development
  • Mentoring
  • Parent/family services
  • SAT/ACT and other test preparation
  • Scholarships and last-dollar grants
  • Science, tech, engineering, & math (STEM)


Race & Ethnicity

  • Asian or Pacific Islander: 7%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 42%
  • African American: 28%

Education Level and
Number of Students

  • High School: 60
  • Middle School: 0
  • Elementary School: 0
  • Post-secondary: 415
  • Non-traditional: 0

Populations Served

  • Academically High-performing


  • Between 50% and 75%

Colleges Attended
by Alumni

  • Amherst College
  • Barnard College
  • Boston University
  • Brown University
  • Bryn Mawr College
  • Bucknell University
  • Cal Poly
  • California State Polytechnic University-Pomona
  • California State University-Fullerton
  • California State University-Long Beach
  • California State University-Los Angeles
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • Colorado College
  • Columbia University in the City of New York
  • Cornell University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Duke University
  • Emory University
  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Mills College
  • Morehouse College
  • New York University
  • Notre Dame College
  • Occidental College
  • Pepperdine University
  • Pitzer College
  • Pomona College
  • Princeton University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Rice University
  • San Diego State University
  • San Francisco State University
  • San Jose State University
  • Santa Clara University
  • Scripps College
  • Smith College
  • Stanford University
  • Swarthmore College
  • Syracuse University
  • Tufts University
  • Tulane University
  • University of California at Berkeley
  • University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine)
  • University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego)
  • University of California-Davis
  • University of California-Los Angeles
  • University of California-Riverside
  • University of California-Santa Barbara
  • University of Colorado Colorado Springs
  • University of Michigan-Dearborn
  • University of New Orleans
  • University of San Francisco
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Wellesley College
  • Wesleyan College
  • Whittier College
  • Xavier University of Louisiana
  • Yale University

Matriculation & Completion

  • 4-yr College Matriculation: 100%
  • 4-yr College Graduation: 98%