The mission of the Alumni Relations 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 Alumni Relations 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. Alumni Relations 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 Alumni Relations Team, Democracy Prep students consistently perform at levels above the average in enrollment and retention.
The Alumni Relations 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 Alumni Relations 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 Alumni Relations 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 AR 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 AR team reevaluates students and assign new rankings.
Alumni Relations also employs peer-to-peer advising. Each Alumni Relations team member manages a cohort of upperclassmen Alumni Captains. These Captains maintain regular contact with a group of underclassmen and report back to their Alumni Relations Manager. Alumni Captains conduct surveys, collect transcripts, and serve as liaisons between the Alumni Relations team and Democracy Prep alumni. For more information on the Alumni Captains Program, please visit the Alumni Captains webpage.
If you have any questions about Alumni Relations 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.