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Social Capitalists: College Summit

43 entrepreneurs who are changing the world
2007 Social Capitalist Winner

College Summit

Washington, DC
Year founded: 1993
CEO: J.B. Schramm
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CS builds the capacity of schools to dramatically increase college-going school- and district-wide. Trained student influencers build college-going culture, while teachers and counselors use curriculum and technology tools to help all students create postsecondary plans and apply to college. Data and accountability tools equip school leaders to manage improved student outcomes. The result? All students see high school graduation as a launching pad to successful futures, and not as a purposeless destination.

The Problem

Students from the low-income quartile who gets As on standardized tests go to college at the same rate as their higher income peers who get Ds on the same tests. In America today, there isn’t a systemic approach to getting all college-ready students to college. Every year, hundreds of thousands of high school students who are “better than their numbers”—who have average test scores and/or grades—but who have clearly demonstrated their potential for college success, fail to make it to college. Data show that getting into college requires more than solid academic preparation and even adequate financial aid.

College Summit focuses on transition, an often overlooked step in the postsecondary planning process that can be particularly challenging for first-generation college-going students. High-achieving low-income students often lack many of the resources and information available to their more affluent classmates when applying to college, such as test prep courses, college visits, and application guidance. College Summit equips schools so that all students can be supported through this application and transition process. Through innovative school partnerships, College Summit provides educators and students with the right tools, resources and experiences to better navigate the difficult transition from Grade 12 to Grade 13.

College Summit in Action

College Summit strengthens schools' capacity to prepare all students for success after high school:

*Tools and training: College Summit works with educators to embed a postsecondary planning structure and resources into each school. This includes a regular, for-credit College Summit class with detailed curriculum, regular teacher training and online tools to help both teachers and students manage college applications online.

*Influential students: Central to the program is peer leadership—College Summit trains influential students to help build a student-led college going culture in their high schools. Twenty percent of the rising senior class attends a four-day workshop on a nearby college campus where they get a head start on college applications by learning how to effectively write a personal statement, meet one-on-one with a guidance counselor, learn the basics of financial aid and gain concrete skills in self-advocacy. Armed with real experience, these students then return to their schools and spread their enthusiasm to their peers.

*Measuring results: College Summit meticulously tracks progress and delivers data to educators. By sharing ongoing measurement and analysis, College Summit empowers educators to innovate and make course corrections mid-stream to maximize college-going in their schools.

*Connections with colleges: College Summit’s network of partner colleges provides a variety of colleges and universities with improved resources that allow them to get to know a broad pool of diverse high school seniors who can succeed at their school

Theory of Change

If communities can raise their college-going rates community-wide, affordably, then America’s college transition gap can be solved. Hundreds of thousands of young people will break the cycle of poverty for their families, and America will stand stronger tapping their talent. College Summit and our school partners, together with our higher education, corporate and philanthropic allies are committed to the day when every student who can make it in college makes it to college.