Increasing Achievement and Fostering Collaboration
Full Scholarship Pathways for Lower Income Students
Extraordinary Opportunities for Lower Income Students
Despite the many inequities in college admissions, there are tremendous opportunities for students from lower income families and those who will be the first in their family to attend college to receive full scholarships and avoid student loan debt. However, the largest inequity that such students face is lacking access to knowledgable college planning guidance and support. Assisting students in identifying the ‘right’ schools; pursuing the ‘right’ scholarship programs; sharing their stories through the ‘right’ essays; and packaging themselves in the ‘right’ way as to inspire college admissions officers to support their applications is a knowledge intensive process with many nuances.
Our work is research-based and research-responsive. Each year, we use the latest in college admissions research to guide students in applying to the right colleges. However, following each college admissions season, we review the admissions offers and financial aid award letters for hundreds of students participating in our program from throughout the country. Consequently, we continually make adjustments to our curriculum and listing of recommended colleges each year.
What We Believe
We believe in cultivating ‘Conversational Communities’ guided by conversations that are research-based, research-responsive, and strategy-focused. Educators, parents, mentors, counselors, coaches, and community partners are provided with the tools, strategies, and materials to effective. We believe that the conversations must be focused on increasing student success and all of its related components, i.e., teaching, learning, safe schools, expanding college access, and meeting the social, emotional, and intellectual needs of students.
Our trainings are designed to provide teachers, counselors, coaches, parents, and mentors, with practical hands-on, and commonsense strategies in such areas as:
- Expanding college access
- Opening pathways to avoiding student debt for students from lower income, first generation, and marginalized communities
- Differentiated and culturally relevant instruction
- Curriculum-based mentor training
- Increasing literacy through enabling texts, narrative writing, and self-reflective conversations
- Increasing parent involvement and student engagement
What We Achieve
We have successfully trained thousands of teachers, counselors, mentors, and community leaders in working hands-on with students, building relationships, using enabling texts, and cultivating high performing classrooms, schools, and mentoring programs.
We have increased parent involvement and engagement in schools and school districts throughout the country. We have also assisted parents in developing college planning cohorts and book clubs in faith-based and and community organizations.
We have inspired students to ‘Own the process,’ enroll into more rigorous classes, set personal goals in such areas as grades, test scores, leadership, service, and behavior. Consequently, we have inspired students to dream big and to align their effort with their desired outcomes.
Our outcome data is remarkable. Student testimonials, posted across our website, provide clear evidence as to how students respond to our engagement. Listen to how they are setting goals, dreaming bigger, and pursuing admission at the country’s most selective colleges and universities. Through a process of ‘Backwards Mapping,’ students begin at the end and work backwards. For example, students who have aspirations of entering into STEM-related careers, begin with the career aspiration and work backwards, identifying the postsecondary institutions and majors; then identifying the needed coursework, grades, and test scores; then identifying the leadership and service needed to become competitive candidates to be offered admission by their top choice schools and for top scholarships. As such, students ‘Own the Process.’ Whether in the primary, middle, or secondary grades, students plan the trajectory needed to arrive at their career aspirations. This process consistently results in higher grades and test scores, deeper levels of learning, fewer discipline infractions, and more engaged students.