Diversifying Higher Education – A Post Affirmative Action Path Forward
Refined over 20 years, our comprehensive, data-informed model works. Our Scholars go to better colleges. Earn better grades. And enjoy better careers. Those aren’t just brags. They’re proven outcomes of our 6-Year Program.
Five Core Pillars Drive Our Success
We understand the opportunity gaps – and their impact. That’s why our 6-Year Program targets the five key inflection points that prevent high-achieving students of color from under-resourced communities from getting into top colleges and graduating ready for top careers.
Lack of access to quality (or any) selective college admissions guidance.
<50% of high-achieving, students of color from economically disadvantaged communities apply to even one top college.
We help our Scholars find “best fit” selective colleges and showcase their qualifications for admittance into these elite schools.
attend Top 100 Colleges
attend Top 50 Colleges
attend Ivy League+ Colleges
Graduating from an elite college can directly impact earning potential. Elite colleges offer smaller class sizes, stronger student support services, and better financial aid packages. That means a better learning experience and, for our Scholars, usually little or no college debt upon graduation.
Research shows that where you go to school directly impacts career opportunities and earning potential for graduates – especially for students from economically disadvantaged communities. We focus on elite universities, not because of the big name but for the valuable networks they provide. By attending these institutions, the 85% of first-generation college students we serve gain access to a broader range of job prospects and career pathways.
William R. Fitzsimmons
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Harvard University
We greatly value our association with Thrive Scholars – a highly effective organization. They have been particularly successful in encouraging top students to apply to Harvard and its peer institutions. The fact that you have been so successful in helping to develop the talents of students from modest income backgrounds and then assisting them during college and beyond is a testament to the leadership role you can play if you can expand your outreach.
Joy St. John
Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, Wellesley
I see Thrive Scholars as the model for the modern college access program. No longer is it effective to simply provide scholarship money to bright, low-income students and ask them to navigate alone the transition to college and the academic challenges they face due to inadequate instruction in chronically under-funded schools. We must also address the academic and social capital gaps these students hold through no fault of their own. Thrive Scholars has the solution– intense classroom instruction and college advising two summers prior to college, as well as a college transition program the summer prior to enrollment and early career advice and mentoring.
James Washington Jr.
Director of Admission for Strategic Initiatives, Dartmouth College
Thrive Scholars reflects the best practices of a “next generation” organization in its organizational structure and student service programs. Thrive Scholars is more forward looking than many through its commitment to help students exceed college access and sustain a laser focus on successful college completion.
Lack of access to the rigorous high school coursework, preparation, and support more privileged students enjoy.
Average grades below 3.0 and STEM persistence of less than 25% for underrepresented students.
Our Summer Academy program provides over 350 hours of college-level instruction targeting math, writing, and critical thinking skills taught by college professors.
Earn B average or better, compared to less than 50% for similar students
Average GPA earned, compared to 2.9 for similar students
Persist in difficult STEM majors — more than 3X better than the average for low-income students of color
More likely to earn an A in college calculus than non-participants (who are 60% more likely to get a D or F)
It all comes back to preparation and opportunity. Our Scholars earn better grades in college, including in STEM, pre-Med, and writing intensive majors — because we prepare them.
Not only do our scholars outperform Scholars with similar backgrounds, theysignificantly outperformtheir more privileged peers at the same Top 100 Colleges. They are…
more likely to graduate
more likely to persist in STEM
Elhadji Amadou Toure
M.L. Wisdom High School, Class of 2025
Summer Academy at Thrive Scholars is simply a primordial portion of the program. The ungraded courses I took there not only allowed me to considerably boost the English and Mathematical skills that prepared me for standardized tests and college applications, but it also blessed me with the opportunity to have a second family full of brilliant, underrepresented students and advisers with whom I relate on countless topics and have made unbreakable bonds; bonds that, today, arguably makes our greatest strength!
Josiah Quincy Upper School, Class of 2025
Summer Academy has not only allowed me to gain a deeper insight into the workings of a college-level class but also build meaningful relationships with extraordinarily bright students from across the nation. I am greatly appreciative of having a supportive, tight-knit community to help me realize my potential to excel in college and beyond.
Olin School of Engineering, Class of 2024
Summer Academy helped me evolve from a great high school student into a strong and knowledgeable college student. I was given the tools to place myself into situations that I otherwise would have been blind to. I left knowing how to reach out to professors for research opportunities, speak to recruiters about internship opportunities, and make connections to others on campus. In my classes, I am consistently more confident in asking for help than my classmates and that has allowed me to build relationships with my professors. I would not be thriving the way I am without Summer Academy.
Abraham Lincoln High School, Class of 2021
Summer Academy was the 6-week-long program I never knew I needed. At first, I was hesitant to spend my whole summer in a college writing class. But a week in and I immediately changed my mind. In that class, I learned what it truly meant to write. I learned how to embrace my stories and how to convey my feelings. With the help of my professor and peers, I finished my first personal statement draft before summer ended and emerged as a confident writer. But I also grew so much as a person. Being surrounded by such passionate, inspiring and kind professors and peers gave me confidence in my growth and motivation to continue pursuing my passions in Biology and English. Now, I can proudly say Summer Academy is more than just a program — it's my second family
Most lack access to a network of college graduates who can share knowledge about the college experience.
Less than half of high-achieving students of color from low-income communities apply to and graduate from a 4-year college.
We provide tailored, one-on-one support throughout college through professional staff as well as peer and volunteer mentors.
Our scholars don’t get by, they thrive. With ongoing social and emotional support, our Scholars flourish in college. They navigate difficult coursework and adjust to the different cultural norms of campus life.
graduate compared to <50% for similar students
Underrepresented students can’t afford college or daily expenses as easily as many of their peers.
Less than 50% graduate, and often with heavy student debt.
We advise Scholars toward low-loan and no-loan colleges. And our bridge stipends help Scholars meet costs not covered by financial aid.
Average debt of our Scholars upon graduation — far below similar students who attend less-prestigious colleges
We work to alleviate the financial burden of our Scholars so they can focus their energy on school. That’s why our program is free for Scholars who qualify. It’s also why we provide Scholars with a $1,000 annual bridge scholarship, a free laptop, and free room, board, and travel for both summers of our six-week, residential Summer Academy.
Limited knowledge of post-college career paths, exposure to corporate culture, or a professional network that opens doors.
Only 5% of Black and Latino people born into poverty will ever earn a six-figure salary or reach senior leadership positions.
Our four-year career development curriculum includes two years of intensive, personalized career coaching focusing on hard and soft skills, access to our professional network, and corporate partnerships for internships and jobs.
Our Scholars graduate with great grades in rigorous majors from top colleges — along with two years of intensive career coaching. They show up fully prepared to thrive and rise as corporate, civic, academic, and community leaders.
Post graduation, over 30% earn advanced degrees
Year after year, our Scholars earn advanced degrees and get internships and jobs at the best companies and institutions in the world.
Our Scholars are leading at every level across society.
Yale University, Class of 2024
Coming from the first-generation, low-income background that Thrive Scholars seeks to aid, I honestly cannot imagine having gone through the college application process without this program. If you were to ask me at the beginning of junior year where I would be going for college I surely wouldn’t have even thought of Yale University. Yet, with Thrive’s irreplaceable help I will be studying at this institution without the fear of finances and doubt disrupting my educational and social experience.
Tufts University, Class of 2024
I realized that I was not alone: not alone in my experiences, not alone in my struggles, not alone in once-hazy vision of going to college, and not alone in hoping to make a difference.