General Information

Mission

The mission of the College Access and Success Team (CAST) 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, only college access is not enough.  Rather, students traditionally underrepresented in higher education must persist in college and graduate in order to close the achievement gap. In 2012, Democracy Prep created the College Access and Success Team, and tasked it with the mission of supporting graduates after they have earned their high school diplomas and left Democracy PREP.

Once an alumni graduates from high school, they receive continuous support from peers and mentors as they navigate their respective postgraduate endeavors (college, employment, trade school, etc). CAST works actively to bolster the positive experiences of alumni within our Four Focus Areas:  financial literacy, socioemotional well-being, academic growth, and self-advocacy. In doing so, Democracy Prep alumni have achieved tremendous postgraduate success.

Results

Democracy Prep student success begins with access.  Currently, 80% of Democracy Prep students are enrolled in an institution of higher education. That is compared to 67% of domestic high school completers, and 81% of high-income American students.  A full 26% of Democracy Prep students attend colleges and universities listed in the top 100 of the U.S. News & World Report’s best colleges rankings.

Access is just the beginning for Democracy Prep students.  84% of all matriculated alums persisted to their second year of college, which is higher than the national average of 81%. Thanks in part to the efforts of the CAST, Democracy Prep students consistently perform at levels above the average in enrollment and retention.

How We Do It

The College Access and Success team at Democracy Prep supports students in our Four Focus Areas: socioemotional well-being, advocacy, financial literacy, and academic growth. Our team coordinates and executes a variety of support programs and services, including:

  • Alumni Captains: Peer-to-peer advising is at the core of what we do. For the 2021-22 school year, there are more than 60 Democracy Prep alumni serving as Alumni Captains. As Alumni Captains, they are responsible for managing a cohort of their peers, maintaining regular contact with them via Outreach surveys, and reporting back to the Assistant Director of Alumni Programs. Outreach surveys are timely, targeted interventions where questions spanning our Four Focus Areas are asked. This is a highly effective means of keeping alumni engaged with each other, engaged with the Democracy Prep network, and on-task to hit collegiate milestones. This is a voluntary program, and not all Democracy Prep alumni are required to participate in the program.
  • Microgrant Program: CAST maintains a budget of funds allocated to reimburse our alumni for college-related costs including tuition, textbooks, school supplies, etc. In order to qualify for this program alumni must submit transcripts, receipts, and maintain consistent contact with their assigned Alumni Captain.
  • Monthly Alumni Newsletter
  • Alumni Association
  • Special Events
  • Career Exploration & Support
  • Office Hours with the AD of Alumni Programs

 

Questions:

If you have any questions about College Access and Success at Democracy Prep, please do not hesitate to reach out to lucy.kane@democracyprep.org.  For more information on our team, please visit the Meet the Team webpage.