KIPP Forward » College and Career

College and Career

Choosing a College

At KIPP, we focus on College Match. The Four Keys below provide KIPPsters a framework to use during the college decision-making process to identify their best ‘match’ college. Students who “match” well are more likely to graduate within 4-6 years. Ideally, students think about these four keys long before they actually start to apply to college:

1. Know Your Numbers
KIPPsters’ academic profiles, including their GPA, ACT, and SAT, affect which school they can attend. School leaders, teachers, and college counseling teams make sure students not only know their numbers, but also know how to implement key strategies to improve their academic trajectories during high school.

2. Get an Early Start
It takes a lot of work, a lot of planning, and a lot of time to apply to college. We advise our students to get an early start and to apply ahead of admission deadlines. This gives them access to the largest pool of financial aid and, in some cases, increases odds for acceptance through Early Decision or Early Action options.

3. Build a Smart Wish List
Students build Smart Wish Lists that include at least nine possible schools – three likely, three target, and three reach schools based on the likelihood of admission, historic graduation rates, financial aid packages and fit (i.e geography, major, cultural factors, etc). With multiple options, students are more likely to find the match where they are most likely to persist through college graduation.

4. Prepare for the Cost of College
A college degree opens the door for more job opportunities and higher paying careers. School leaders, teachers, and college counselors work alongside students and families to understand their options, to help them increase eligibility for aid, and to avoid excess debt.

Persisting Through College

After students graduate from high school, KIPP alumni coaches and counselors remain dedicated to helping students earn a degree on the path to a life full of opportunity. Throughout college there are several crucial moments that can put a student at risk of leaving school; conversely, there are some key behaviors that keep a student on the path to graduation. Our support approach is informed by rigorous research, our students’ experiences, and the knowledge and expertise of our community.


Charting a Career Path

KIPP’s mission has always been focused on preparing students to lead choice-filled lives. While we know that a college degree is the clearest path to a life of opportunity and choice, we also know some students pursue different paths to fulfilling careers. Through academic and extracurricular programs, we help our students expand their knowledge of career options – and the steps needed to pursue the career of their choice. We’re piloting pathways programs to better support students who pursue a credentialing pathway.

There are multiple viable pathways to fulfilling lives of success and impact: