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Beyond 12

College Advising Corps

Coordinating a College Access and Success Pathway


Beyond 12

College Advising Corps


Coordinating a College Access and Success Pathway


How can two high-performing nonprofits work together to build a coordinated pathway that supports low-income, first-generation, and historically-underrepresented high school students as they access, enroll in, and complete college?

Graduates Hugging



In today’s global economy, a college degree is a key to economic and social mobility. More young people than ever are earning high school diplomas and enrolling in higher education. Yet too many students – particularly from low-income communities or the first in their families to pursue college – never graduate from college. While a college degree does not guarantee employment, it gives students from underserved backgrounds a considerable edge in joining and succeeding in the workforce.

One of the primary challenges with increasing college completion rates for underserved students is the lack of communication between K-12 and higher education systems. Because these systems function largely independently, there is a gap between the standards required to graduate from high school and those expected of students upon college entry. High school students are expected to navigate college admissions, enrollment, and financial aid systems, all complex processes that require significant background knowledge and can pose intimidating barriers for students unfamiliar with these systems, especially if their family members did not enroll in college. Consequently, students are often unable to navigate the difficult transition between high school and college and may not be academically, socially, and emotionally prepared for the rigors of higher education.


College Advising Corps (CAC) and Beyond 12 (B12) tackle these problems through their work with students. CAC is a leader in the field of college access and B12 is a leader in the field of college success. Both have received national recognition for their program models that enable students to experience success. CAC and Beyond 12 both support students in different phases of their journey toward college. CAC works with high school students as they research, apply to, and select postsecondary institutions. B12 then connects with these students as they complete their high school journeys and prepare for college and provides coaching throughout their first two years of college. Together, these two organizations fill a gap in services between high school graduation and college matriculation.

These two organizations approached the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation to design, pilot, and implement a new, comprehensive college access and success solution. The project is called Coordinating a College Access and Success Pathway (CCASP). Through a seamless transfer of services, students who receive college access support from CAC advisers in select NYC high schools will subsequently receive college persistence support from Beyond 12 college coaches upon high school graduation and through their first two years of college. Root Cause is facilitating the planning and implementation of their coordinated efforts.

“What’s really amazing about this program is to have well-trained college advisers who understand first-hand what many of our students are experiencing as they go through the process of thinking about and applying to college,” said Marsha Jaeger, leader of UC Berkeley’s Center for Educational Partnerships. “Students see themselves in the advisers and they see what’s possible.”

Goals & Results

Root Cause worked together with B12 and CAC to design a transition model that hands off high school seniors from their CAC adviser to their B12 coach as they prepare to enter college. Root Cause facilitated leaders of B12 and CAC in designing a Theory of Change and creating a plan for the crucial spring-to-summer period when students often lack support. Together, Root Cause, CAC, and B12 finalized the CCASP model, created an evaluation plan, and developed secure data-sharing practices between partners. In preparation for the handoffs and throughout the process, Root Cause facilitated collaboration in sharing goals and creating systems to support the project.

CCASP launched in 5 pilot schools across New York City in the spring of 2018. In 2019, students from 10 high schools are participating, in the hope that more schools will be added each year. Root Cause is facilitating learning and design sessions with CAC and B12 to refine various program components in response to student needs and feedback.


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About the Partner

Beyond 12 Logo

Beyond 12

Beyond 12 is increasing the number of low-income, first-generation, and historically underrepresented students who graduate from college, through data collection for schools and colleges, a mobile app for college students, and supportive college coaches. In partnership with high schools and colleges, the Beyond 12 technology platform and their coaches together provide students with the academic, social, and emotional support they need to succeed in higher education and in life.

College Advising Corps Logo, CAC Logo

College Advising Corps

College Advising Corps works to increase the number of low-income, first-generation college, and underrepresented high school students who enter and complete higher education. They do this through two innovative program models. Their in-school model places well-trained, recent college graduates from their 26 partner universities as full-time college advisers in high schools across the nation. Their virtual model leverages technology to connect well-trained, recent college graduates with students everywhere in the nation that technology can reach.

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