9 Steps IDEA Public Schools Uses to Get Students To and Through College

How does high school at IDEA prepare students for success in college and in life? Take a look at these nine unique steps that ensure 100% of IDEA alumni were accepted to colleges and universities for the past 12 years.

Step 1: Rigorous Courses

IDEA Public Schools follows the Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB)* For All model. AP and IB courses are taught in high school but aligned with the rigor of a college level course. Additionally, IDEA scholars prepare for the rigor of AP and IB courses by taking Pre-AP courses in middle school and high school. Through AP and IB classes, students will prepare for the rigor of college, have the opportunity to skip introductory college classes, stand out in the admissions process, and reduce students’ overall college cost. Students might be thinking: this sounds hard—this isn’t for me! At IDEA, students are never alone on the road to and through college. Here is how we help students along the way to a college degree.

Step 2: College Counselors

Our college counselors work with students starting in the 6th grade, and ensure students transition successfully into college and stay enrolled.

Step 3: Expert teachers

Our expert teachers are critical to ensuring students are prepared for college and life. Our teachers will invest time and effort into students’ success, working day in and day out to make sure that students are set on the path to success.

Step 4: College Field Lessons

College field lessons, which begin for our students as early as 1st grade, are just one of many ways we strive to create an environment that teaches students to dream big and understand that students can attend the college of students’ choice.

Step 5: To and Through College Course

Students will take The Road To and Through College course all four years of high school. In this class, students define their own passion and purpose, and align them with the college or university that is the best fit for students. The Road to and Through College Course has four focus areas: Academic Readiness, College Knowledge, College Graduating Identity, and Community Involvement and Citizenship.

Step 6: The Collegiate Summer Away Program

In 11th grade, students are encouraged to participate in the IDEA Collegiate Summer Away Program (CSAP). Through CSAP, students will attend summer programs at colleges and universities across the country before students start their senior year. Through this program, students will get to “try-on” the college experience and feel comfortable transitioning to a college campus near or far from home.

Step 7: Go Beyond the Classroom

At IDEA, students will have the opportunity to explore a wide array of extracurricular opportunities, participate in community service projects, leadership experiences, science fairs, and so much more so that students can discover their best selves. A college admissions officer looks for things like community service involvement, opportunities to expand students learning outside of the classroom, and extracurricular activities as an essential part of a quality college application. We offer a wide range of extracurricular activities across our campuses, including flag football, lacrosse, basketball, volleyball, chess, mariachi, robotics, and school yearbook & newspaper.

Step 8: College Signing Day


Step 9: Support Through College

At IDEA, our job does not end until our students graduate from college. We help students tap into all resources available to help finance students’ journeys to and through college. On average, IDEA also awards 20 Give Me 5 Scholarships of $8,000 to IDEA students each year, as well as a one-time, zero-interest emergency loan. Our counselors and alumni support team also check up on students throughout their years in college—in person, over the phone, and via email—to ensure students have what students need to succeed at the university of their choice.

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