The mission of the College Access and Success team at Democracy Prep is to support Democracy Prep alumni in their endeavors to work hard, go to college and change the world. In order to close the achievement gap, college access is not enough. Rather, students traditionally underrepresented in higher education must persist in college and graduate in order to close the gap. In 2012, Democracy Prep initiated the College Access and Success program tasked with the mission to support graduates after they earn their high school diplomas.
Once Democracy Prep alumni graduate from high school, they receive continuous support from peers and mentors as they navigate their respective college environments. College Access and Success works actively to bolster the positive experiences of alumni within four respective frameworks: financial literacy, socioemotional well-being, academic growth, and self-advocacy. In so doing, Democracy Prep alumni have achieved tremendous success in persisting through college.
Democracy Prep student success begins with access. Currently, 80% of Democracy Prep students are enrolled in an institution of higher education. That’s compared to 67.1% average for U.S. high school completers, and 80.9% of high-income American students. A full 26% of Democracy Prep students attend colleges and universities listed top 100 in their respective categories on U.S. News & World Report’s best colleges rankings.
Access is just the beginning for Democracy Prep students. In fact, 84% of all matriculated alums persisted to their second year of college. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, this is higher than the national average of 81% across all incomes and 80% for schools serving a pre-dominantly low-income student body. Thanks in part to the efforts of the Democracy Prep College Access and Success Team, Democracy Prep students consistently perform at levels above the average in enrollment and retention.
The College Access and Success team at Democracy Prep supports students in four key areas: socioemotional well-being, advocacy, financial literacy, and academic growth. Our team utilizes a scale to evaluate student performance and success. A voluntary program, not all Democracy Prep alumni are required to participate in the program. Students who opt out of College Access and Success programming are not included in our correspondences. Students who are not currently enrolled in a postsecondary educational program and receive regular outreach from both the College Access and Success Team and peer mentors. These students are asked to develop coherent postsecondary plans through one-on-one meetings with our team Those who are currently enrolled but are not on track to graduate or demonstrate significant risk of departing their institution of higher education receive regular outreach from the team. These contact points including monthly check-ins from peer mentors and team members. Students who maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher and show signs of self efficacy on campus and therefore receive tapered College Access and Success support.
Students who are “rock stars” have effectively transitioned to college and maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA. Outreach to these students is limited to event invitations, mass emails, and cohort-wide motivational text messages. Each academic year, the College Access and Success team reevaluates students and assign new rankings.
College Access and Success also employs peer-to-peer advising. Each College Access and Success team member manages a cohort of upperclassmen Alumni Captains. These Captains maintain regular contact with a group of underclassmen and report back to their College Access and Success Manager. Alumni Captains conduct surveys, collect transcripts, and serve as liaisons between the College Access and Success team and Democracy Prep alumni.
If you have any questions about College Access and Success at Democracy Prep, please do not hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on our team, please visit the Meet the Team webpage.