4 Phases

Phase I: College Access Program

The Elon Academy College Access Program is our original high school program. Each year a new cohort of about 25 ninth graders is selected to join the Academy. The year-round program combines three intensive 4-week residential experiences at Elon prior to the sophomore, junior, and senior years as well as a monthly Saturday Academy during the academic year. During the month-long residential summer program scholars choose from a variety of academic classes along with challenging curricular, co-curricular, and cultural experiences as well as leadership opportunities, service projects, and college planning and college visits. The residential component of the program mirrors college life, providing exposure to disciplines not typically found in the high school curriculum. All classes integrate reading, writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills and emphasize collaborative, organizational, study, and time management skills to increase potential for success in both high school and college. Elon University students live in the residence halls and serve as teaching assistants and mentors. University faculty and high school teachers teach classes.  Local businesses provide paid internships for many of our scholars during the second half of the summer and during the school year.
The year-round program includes a monthly Saturday Academy that includes SAT preparation, college selection, essay writing, and college, grant, and scholarship information and guidance. Family involvement is crucial, therefore we offer parallel programs for family members on alternate Saturdays. During the academic year every sophomore and junior scholar is engaged in a year-long “Inquiry Project” (IP) of their choice that culminates in a presentation, performance, or product that is shared with a relevant, authentic audience.
Each year scholars are assigned to a College Access Team (CAT) Mentor (Elon University students who have been trained by our staff) who meets with them face-to-face and virtually to answer questions and provide support and encouragement between Saturday programs. We advise our scholars to take a rigorous high school curriculum including honors and AP classes. To ensure success we provide Elon University Academic Coaches (at no cost) on an as-needed basis. Counseling services and referrals to community agencies are available to both scholars and their families. Transportation for scholars and families is provided, on request, for all activities to remove any barriers to participation.

Phase II: Transitions to College Program

The Elon Academy Transitions to College Program, started summer 2010, supports graduating scholars’ transitions to college with an intensive three-day summer retreat, family workshop and celebration.

Phase III:  College Success Program

The Elon Academy College Success Program, started fall 2010, is designed to ensure college completion for scholars once they enter college. In this phase of the program, Academy staff visit scholars on their campuses to provide scholars and families with academic, social, and mentoring/advising support, as well as assistance in securing additional financial aid.

Phase IV: Alumni Program

The Elon Academy Alumni Program started summer 2011, provides a network of support to Academy graduates and their families throughout their college years and beyond. Through the Peer Leader Program Academy alumni return to the campus and the community to inspire and support Elon Academy and other high school students who dream of a college education.
Currently the Academy serves 133 scholars (62 in college and 71 in high school) and approximately 350 family members. Our scholars, who are now freshmen, sophomore, and juniors in college, have been awarded more than $2 million in merit-based aid. Two of our graduates have been awarded Gates-Millennium Scholarships. Overall, 88% of scholars who begin the high school program remain in the program for the three years. Of those who complete the program 100% are accepted into college.
Over the past six years we have developed a more complex and nuanced understanding of challenges faced by limited-income, first-generation college students. We have also learned how powerful “near-peers” (students who are slightly older than their mentees and represent the high school and college students our scholars aspire to become) can be in supporting our scholars to ensure that their dreams of a college education are realized. In the Academy we have developed four year-round coaching/mentoring programs.