A common experience for high school educators in high-poverty neighborhoods is the sense that despite their hard work, they will be unable to help students navigate the college-level barriers that prevent students from obtaining a degree. Research demonstrates that colleges that include mentorship programs for low-income and/or first-generation college attendees significantly increases their chances of obtaining a four-year degree. While ACE will encourage its students to enroll in such programs where available, we are prepared to provide this mentorship ourselves. Inspired by work done by charter schools such as People’s Preparatory Charter School in Newark, New Jersey, ACE is excited to make a six-year commitment to its students, and to provide continued mentorship and support to its students during the first two years of their college experience:

  • Summer College Institute for Transitioning Seniors (SCITS): SCITS is designed to help recent graduates cross the finish line of matriculating into college. The SCITS program seeks to remove any obstacles that may present in between graduation and enrollment in college, whether those obstacles are related the technical or financial aspects of matriculation. Participants in SCITS will receive group and personalized assistance completing all entry paperwork for their college programs, and will receive assistance paying their college deposit fees, ensuring that seats at their chosen schools are held for them. 

  • Alumni Development and Support Days (ADSS): Held four times a year, our ADSS program is designed to address the things with which college-going students are likely to be struggling at different times of year, and to provide a continued community of support. On ADSS nights, mentors, college office personnel, and alumni will reunite and enjoy a meal together before attending break-out sessions designed to address students’ pressing questions and needs. 

  • Continued Mentorship During the First Two Years of College (ADDS+): The College Office will also provide ACE Alumni with personal check-ins at each semester break. These check-ins are designed to ensure that students are in good academic standing, and that they have met all requirements to successfully matriculate into their next semester of college. When students are off tracks, ADSS+ will collaborate with students to help them identify and connect to the resources that will help them move forward.

  • Alumni Leadership Opportunities: All graduates will be encouraged to develop their leadership skills and give back to the ACE community by leading one of several FACES seminars that occur throughout the year. In FACES seminars, alumni will connect with families and students that are part of the ACE high school community by sharing their experiences in world of college and work. We hope to create excitement and buy-in as students hear of their peers’ success in postsecondary settings, and to create an additional layer of mentorship, guidance and support for those yet to cross that threshold.

  • Resources and Assistance Program (RAP): Our RAP program, available to all ACE graduates, will work to remove financial stressors from students’ lives by assisting with all of the “extra” expenses that come with college- purchasing textbooks, having regular access to a computer, and paying for miscellanea. Through RAP, students will be able to check-out laptops for up to one semester, borrow textbooks that are commonly used in entry-level courses, work in our computer lab, and apply for modest scholarships.