The Graduate Services Department is currently a team of four Excel Academy staff members dedicated to supporting alumni throughout high school and college, with our sights set on the goal of Bachelor’s degree attainment. We start college awareness early by naming our homerooms after colleges that our alumni attend and taking students on field trips to high school and college campuses starting in 5th grade. Each fall, we host a High School Fair for 8th graders and their families that more than 40 high schools attend. Through weekly classes, one-on-one family meetings, and preparation for high school entrance exams, our Director of High School Placement ensures that all students understand their high school options and helps them complete applications, gain admission and financial aid, and matriculate to the college-preparatory high school of their choice. We then help students to prepare for the transition to high school though our weekly Graduate Seminar class and "Freshman Academy" program.
Once students begin high school, we visit each of them at their schools twice per year, monitor their grades, and meet with their advisors and counselors. We host several social events each year and keep in touch with the families of each graduate through phone calls, one-on-one meetings, and a monthly newsletter. Our department specifically focuses on ensuring that all graduates have access to a full range of college counseling services. We take graduates on college visits each summer and host college application and scholarship "bootcamps" to assist students in preparing their college applications and searching for scholarship opportunities. Financial aid support services are offered each January and we counsel each family individually in the spring to help them choose the best college option.
Because our goal is Bachelor’s degree attainment, our work does not end when students arrive at college as freshmen! We continue to support our students throughout their post-secondary years by visiting them on campus, assisting in choosing classes and accessing support services at their schools, helping their families re-apply for financial aid each year and career development. For our graduates who are not currently enrolled in higher education, much work is done to support them in developing a productive post-secondary plan, whether that is a later entrance to college, serving in the military or vocational training.
In short, once our students leave us at the end of their 8th grade year, they remain an important part of our Excel family for the long run. Not only do we feel a deep commitment to our graduates, but they in turn feel a strong commitment to our school community. On any given afternoon, you can see our high school graduates returning to tutor and mentor younger students and you may be greeted by one of our alumni as part of our post-secondary alumni internship program!
If you would like to know more about the Graduate Services Department, please contact Laura Goldworm, Dean of High School Placement and Graduate Support, at firstname.lastname@example.org.