NCTN National College Transition Network
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Access to Opportunity

The National College Transition Network was awarded a grant from the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation to design and lead the Access to Opportunity project.  This project increased access, persistence and success of adult GED, ESOL and college transition learners in postsecondary education and training by direct exposure through college events and continued guidance by mentors. This project served more than 450 Boston area adult learners enrolled in GED, ESOL and college transition programs and ultimately in college. We worked closely with 12 Boston adult education programs and three postsecondary institutions.

Access to Opportunity had two components, the College for a Day event and planning for a mentoring program. This two-stage approach advanced the goals of access, persistence and completion. In the first stage, we invited adults to visit local colleges to experience what it would feel like to be a college student, how they can go about applying to college, and the resources available to them at each college to help them get started. This stage built awareness and aspirations of a sizable group of adult learners, many of whom will not be ready to enroll in college yet. This part of the project continued the work started by our College for a Day project.

The second stage was to start the planning for more intensive services through mentoring to those adult learners who are ready and able to enroll in postsecondary education or training. Mentoring was planned to be geared to get the mentees through the critical periods when research shows new college students are most likely to drop out: 1) period between acceptance and when classes begin; 2) first month of classes; 3) mid-terms; 4) end of 1st semester; 5) planning to enroll in 2nd semester. Mentoring has been found to have a positive impact on student outcomes including self-confidence, future aspirations, grade point average and persistence rates. Check out the Adult College Engagement project that implemented the above mentioned mentoring model.

For more information about Access to Opportunity, contact Priyanka Sharma, psharma@worlded.org.

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