College Access & Post-Secondary Success

“Whether our students choose college or another post-secondary path, we support all of our alumni in the achievement of their goals.” – Excerpt from College Access & Post-Secondary Success Team Mission Statement


5-8 College Access
Excel’s 5-8 College Access Program is designed to support the middle school students across our network to develop college going identities and the non-cognitive skills essential for success in college beginning in 5th grade though the transition to the Excel Academy Charter High School. This work is accomplished through:

  • Yearly opportunities to visit local colleges and interact with Excel alumni. In 5th grade, students take part in age-appropriate tours on college campuses. In 6th grade, students have an authentic learning experience on a college campus, which involves participating in their 6th grade coursework in college lecture halls and classrooms. In 7th grade, students engage in an interactive panel discussion with Excel alumni currently enrolled in college. 8th grade culminates in an overnight experience on a college campus.
  • Learning about and practicing specific non-cognitive skills students will need to be successful including growth mindset, self-efficacy, realistic self-appraisal, and self-management
  • Capstone 8th grade program focused on helping students articulate what is important to them for their future, building the skills they will need for high school such as organization and time management, and providing concrete information about the role of GPA and other factors for college admissions and the financial aid process.

9-12 College Access
Excel’s 9-12 College Access Program is designed to guide our high school students as they continue to develop college going identities and the non-cognitive skills essential for success in college and beyond. All high school students will participate in a weekly class taught by Excel’s CAPS team, beginning in 9th grade and continuing through graduation. These seminar courses will encourage students to develop their identities and values as the foundation for exploring college and other post-secondary options and setting personally relevant goals for their lives. The general themes discussed in this course will be:

  • 9th grade: Identity development, values exploration, support for summer opportunities search, early college awareness
  • 10th grade: Career exploration, short and long term goal setting, support for summer opportunities search, early college awareness
  • 11th grade: Preparation for college admissions testing and college applications
  • 12th grade: College application completion and post-secondary transition planning

11-12 College and Career Counseling
Excel’s College and Career Counseling team offers individualized support to our 11th and 12th graders and their families as they explore their post-secondary options and make decisions for their lives after high school graduation. Counselors will offer support with both the college application and the financial aid application process, including one-on-one meetings with students and families.


High School Support
For Excel’s middle school alumni that graduated from 8th grade prior to the opening of the Excel Academy Charter High School, our High School Support Program is designed to ensure that Excel graduates remain on track to productive post-secondary plans and have access to the support and resources they may need along the way. Through campus visits and monthly outreach, the program focuses on high school support and college guidance to ensure that Excel is fulfilling its mission that all alumni succeed in high school and their post-secondary plans.

Post-Secondary Support
Excel’s post-secondary support program is designed to ensure that Excel alumni succeed in their respective post-secondary endeavors. For students in two and four year colleges, the program provides guidance to alumni and families on the matriculation process, financial aid, academic advising, and social emotional support to ensure persistence and graduation. For students on other productive post-secondary pathways, such as the military and vocational programs, the program provides career guidance and exploration as well as social/emotional support.

Excel’s two Post-Secondary Support advisors support students in some of the following ways once they have graduated from high school:

  • Check-ins with students via email/text/phone/facebook at least three times per semester
  • Visits to all local first and second year college students on their campuses
  • Annual assistance to students and families in filing the FAFSA, CSS Profile and all other financial aid documents
  • Annual one-on-one meetings with students to discuss degree progress and future goals
  • Support in resume writing as well as searches for jobs and internships


The Results of Our Work
  • 100% of our middle school students will have an authentic learning experience on a college campus by the end of their 8th grade year.

    5-8 College Access

  • 94% of our first 6 middle school classes have graduated from high school or earned their equivalency certificate (GED or HiSET).

    High School Graduation

  • 76% of the high school class of 2015 (Excel Class of 2011) matriculated to a 2- or 4-year college.

    College Matriculation

  • 65% of alumni from our first 6 classes have graduated from or are currently enrolled at a 2- or 4-year college.

    College Persistence

“I don’t know about you, but I don’t know anyone who receives as much support from their middle school as we receive from Excel, even after we’ve graduated.”

Daniela Ramirez Excel Academy Class of 2006, Pine Manor College Class of 2013