Diversifying Higher Education – A Post Affirmative Action Path Forward
Thrive Scholars has been around since 2002, and ten years in, 90% of our Scholars were graduating from top colleges around the country. But after speaking with many of them, they did not feel like they succeeded. They didn’t get the competitive internships they sought, weren’t getting into top graduate schools, and were graduating without the degrees needed for the jobs they wanted.
We dove into the data and learned why. These nearly straight-A high school students had an average GPA below 3.0 in college, and 80% were leaving their STEM majors. We soon realized that the under-resourced high schools they attended had not prepared them for the rigorous coursework they would encounter at top colleges—especially in math and writing—so they struggled academically in their first year.
Knowing our students did not have access to the same number of AP courses, out-of-school opportunities, social networks, or resources at home as their more privileged peers, we changed our program in 2012 to provide more support through a Summer Academy experience that would prepare top students to excel academically in top colleges.
Our model to uplift future diverse leaders now goes from reaching hundreds of students each year to thousands. Seeing the results of Summer Academy, we are opening up the experience to talented and deserving students across the country by launching 10 regional Thrive Academies.
ATTEND two, 6-week Summer sessions.
PARTICIPATE in 6 hours of calculus and writing daily.
LEARN from college professors on a college campus.
RECEIVE college advising support and guidance.
ENROLL in Thrive Scholars’ robust career development workshops.
ACCESS internship and job opportunities.
Vanderbilt University, Class of 2027
Summer Academy has opened my eyes both socially and academically. I have made amazing friends that have the same interests and ambitions as me. I have also been put through rigorous courses that have exposed me to new material and ways of thinking not offered in high school!
Yale University, Class of 2026
Summer Academy was transformative in many different ways. Not only did I get exposure to college-level courses, expert college access, and college living, but I also got to develop a tight-knit community. Knowing that, through our shared struggle of being first-generation, low-income students, I can strive towards and succeed at everything I have dreamed of and more.
Yale University, Class of 2027
Summer Academy has been one of the best experiences I've had. It's put me in a community of so many nice people that share the same ambition that I do, which is very different than my high school experience. Being exposed to the college experience has me more excited than ever to attend a university. The lifestyle of college students is something I greatly look forward to!
University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2027
Summer Academy not only made me feel more prepared going into my senior year courses but made me feel confident about my potential in getting into top institutions. From finding my college fit factors, interview preparation, and understanding our intersectional identities, I took away a deep understanding that colleges truly look beyond high GPAs and test scores.
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