According to the Notebook, only 10% of high school students in Philadelphia get a college degree, but 24% enroll in college. This means 6 out 10 of these students drop out of college, most likely with student loans but no degree. While this data is from the Philadelphia School District, these statistics probably hold true for many American cities.
Many of these students lack role models and mentors to help them to navigate college and put into perspective how their college experiences fit into a larger life journey.
The Collective Success Network is a brand new non-profit initiative to address these issues and increase the overall college success rate among college students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Our vision is to build a strong social support network connecting college students with professional mentors and the larger business community to support them in navigating the path forward and building a career.
We aim for our programming and advocacy work to neutralize the stigma associated with coming from lower income backgrounds and being the first generation in their families to attend college. We also aim to emphasize strengths, such as resilience, grit, resourcefulness, responsibility, and compassion, that students from disadvantaged backgrounds bring to the table.
A key aspect of our vision involves empowering students to take leadership roles in guiding and driving our programming and operations.
- Our steering committee is composed of both college students and professionals.
- We are also supporting student leaders to build campus chapters at our two initial pilot sites: the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University.
Initially, our geographic focus will be the Greater Philadelphia area, understanding that the model we build has potential to be replicated in other cities.
To learn more about the challenges facing college students from disadvantaged backgrounds, please read these first-hand accounts by one of our co-founders.