Girls in line holding hands and helping each other

Foster relationships that encourage students’ academic success.


  1. Increase number of recognized student clubs/organizations focused on academics, careers, and/or college.
  2. Increase number of families involved in academic, career and college planning.
  3. Increase percentage of students who report that their teachers expect them to go to college.


Draw on the power of peers.
  • Develop student organizations focused on academics and college attendance.
  • Show youth that people who share their racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and other characteristics can and do succeed in college, through carefully ‘matched’ motivational speakers, alumni panels, and/or mentors.
  • Lead discussions (in safe, comfortable spaces) about whether and why youth believe that “people like me” can and do go to college.
  • Host transition activities as students move to new schools, such as transition camps, Link Crew, or similar programs.  
  • Facilitate student relationships with peers who plan to attend college through a structured program or extracurricular activities, such as building networks among youth bound for the same colleges or types of programs.


Provide opportunities for every student to develop positive mentoring relationships with older students and adults.
  • Ensure that every student has meaningful connections with at least three staff members.
  • Partner with community agencies and organizations with staff more likely to share identity and characteristics with youth.
  • Utilize current college students as mentors for younger students.


Engage families.
  • Provide staff with tools for working /communicating with students and families from diverse backgrounds.
  • Include families in college access activities.
  • Reduce language barriers by translating all school newsletters and communications into different languages.
  • Involve parents in school governance bodies, college visits, and college and career days.
  • Host student led conferences.
  • Visit the homes of incoming 9th grade students to welcome them to the high school.
  • Conduct projects in which youth interview their parents or other adult family members about the family’s hopes and goals for the young person’s future.
  • Reach out to underrepresented parent and community groups, gather their views, and use these to improve programming and outreach.