It’s not just a financial lack.

It’s an absence of the skills and experiences needed to compete for, apply to and stay in outstanding colleges. Leaven is creating a clear, achievable path around these obstacles.

Carefully select the scholars.

Recommendations for exceptional 10th- or 11th-graders are submitted to us by high school guidance counselors, teachers or other individuals who work with teens. Potentials are in the 98th percentile on standardized tests and have unweighted GPAs of 3.8 or higher. They exhibit perseverance, self-advocacy, leadership potential and an exceptional desire to serve the community.

Identify at least one mentor.

Encouragement and emotional support are key in college preparation. We identify at least one adult in the student’s life with the proximity, time, language skills and access to transportation who directly assists us. While this is usually a parent, grandparent or older sibling, it can also be a teacher, coach or clergy member. Our goal is consistent partnership with someone who knows the student well, is trusted and who cares.

Balance the advantages held by higher-income peers.

We provide college guidance, individualized academic enrichment, standardized testing preparation, access to pre-college programs and service learning opportunities. We arrange college tours, assist with applications and cover application fees.

Make the right match.

Leaven guides each of our scholars toward schools that will fit them academically, socially, emotionally, financially and pre-professionally.

Sustain support.

During college, Leaven provides outreach and coaching sessions via phone, Skype, FaceTime, email or text. We fund basic necessities, tickets home twice a year and proper attire for internship and job interviews. We also link Leaven Scholars to other Leaven Scholars for inspiration and reinforcement. From transition to college and across the years to graduation, Leaven continues to assist.