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#SpotlightOnCLT College Readiness


Spotlight On CLT: College Readiness

 #SpotlightOnCLT is SHARE Charlotte’s monthly content series that highlights a different cause or issue each month (often referred to as the "theme" of the month) and allows us to explore the crucial work being done in that particular arena by our local nonprofit partners. It is one way that we shine a light on various causes and issues in one calendar year as a way to educate the community and explore the given topic through the lens of the nonprofit community- breaking down who does what, how to get involved, etc.

Throughout May, we are focusing on College Readiness. We will be highlighting nonprofits who work with High School aged students and above, whose core programmatic work is that of mentorship, academic support, and/or financial support to help students transition into their first year of college and onwards towards degree attainment.

What does college readiness really mean?

College readiness is typically defined as the "level of preparation a student needs in order to enroll and succeed - without remediation - in a credit-bearing general education course at a postsecondary institution." But what is can mean to students and families embarking on the path to college is the question "are you ready for college?"  i.e....Do you have the skills, knowledge, critical thinking, and behaviors need before entering your freshman year of college?

How do you prepare for college?

Several nonprofits and a local coalition right here in Charlotte are leading the charge to not only answer that question, but help create the foundations that lead to college success.

Meet the Crescent Coalition

The Crescent Coalition connects community-based organizations serving under-resourced students along their journey from middle school through college graduation and successful careers. The Crescent brings together college-access partners whose programs must be free to students, offer mentorship for at least 2 years, provide longitudinal support along the way, and provide individualized wrap-around support. Read more about how the coalition came to be with support from Leading On Opportunity and the Friedland Foundation here.

The Crescent Coalition partners include - Carolina Youth Coalition, Friedland Foundation, Gardhouse, GenOne, Greater Steps Scholars, Road2Hire, Talented Girls in Action, The Academy of Goal Achievers, Urban Promise, and Wayfinders. Together, these partners provide a "transition between organizations as students progress through milestones with an aim to overlap services of multiple organizations for maximum student benefit." Check out their Beating The Odds Summit on June 16th!

How can you get involved?...Meet the Nonprofit Partners who are helping students prepare for the future

(Click the links to get connected.)

The John Crosland School - Crosland promotes college readiness for students with learning differences by curating an environment of belonging from which students identify both their strengths and challenges while advocating for their needs and celebrating their neurodivergence. High school students hone skills for post-secondary success through leadership opportunities in Life Skills, Public Speaking, Teen Lead, and Club Participation. Our graduates benefit from intentional strategies for self-regulation, creative problem-solving, and resilience for persevering over academic challenges.

Right Moves For Youth (RMFY) - RMFY's core work promotes college readiness through a range of programs and initiatives designed to help students prepare for higher education. RMFY offers college and career exploration programs that help students explore their options and identify their interests and goals. These programs expose students to different careers and industries, and provide opportunities for students to interact with professionals in these fields. By helping students identify their passions and aspirations, RMFY is able to help them develop a plan for achieving their academic and career goals. In addition, RMFY provides students with financial literacy and college affordability programs. These programs teach students about the cost of higher education and provide strategies for reducing college expenses. RMFY also offers scholarship opportunities and assistance with financial aid applications to help students overcome financial barriers to higher education. 

Latin Americans Working for Achievement (LAWA) - To advance the education and quality of life of Latinos in the Charlotte Region through scholarships, academic, and cultural programs and also to financially support and encourage students seeking to attend and complete an associate, bachelor, or trade and vocational program.

First Gen Success - "We are committed to bolstering the futures of female scholars by empowering them with the tools to become first generation college students and leaders in the community. We utilize a combination of mentoring by experienced, female professionals and a rigorous program of "Prep-HER-ation" modules and sessions to open the eyes and minds of scholars to the possibilities their future hold." Scholars engage in nine modules throughout the year that introduce them to college, career, leadership, and community-based opportunities. Programming includes opportunities for our scholars to partner with local organizations, companies, and school. The scholars are also required to create a peer-directed project that gives back to the community, which offers them an opportunity to see first-hand the impact of their positive actions.

ANSWER Scholarship - ANSWER Scholarship provides college scholarships, mentoring and professional development training to moms in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties in the Carolinas. They mentor and support mothers of school-age children as they achieve a college education and pursue the careers they desire. They are role models of academic, personal, and professional success for their children. We’ve served 114 mothers and awarded more than $630,000 in college scholarships to date. Their scholar moms have graduated from UNC Charlotte, Queens University, Winthrop University, Johnson C. Smith University, and other colleges and universities. ANSWER’s graduation rate is consistently above 80%, nearly double the national graduation rate for non-traditional students.

Dream Girls University - Dream Girls University hosts the following workshops to help prepare students for entry into college and balancing college life with personal life: Resume Writing, Social Media Intelligence, Personal Branding/Finding your Passion and Self Care. Dream Girls University also provides selected students with a Dorm Room Makeover. Their goal is to bridge the financial gap and provide a comfortable inviting space for deserving students. "We believe that creating a home away from home increases a student's chance for success and has a positive effect on their emotional state."

Carolina Youth Coalition - "Our mission is to nurture and propel high-achieving, under-resourced students to and through college."

Launched For Life - Launched For Life is an organization dedicated to elevating the mindsets of young adults in the prime of their preparation period for adulthood. Their programming equips participants with the tools, skills and experiences necessary to live mature, responsible lives. "We focus on the entrepreneurial mindset, character building, financial independence, healthy living & wellness, home management, and professional development to give students the foundation they need to "launch" successfully, be it for college, work, or entrepreneurial endeavors."

GenOne - GenOne partners with talented, first-generation students from underserved communities, helping them successfully navigate to and through college. They identify high performing, rising middle school students attending Title I public middle schools in Charlotte and involve students and families in year-round college and career preparatory programming. They prepare students to be “scholarship-ready” by senior year and provide intensive support on standardized testing, financial aid, applications, scholarship searches and career planning. "We support Scholars with comprehensive college persistence and workforce development services through postsecondary graduation to ensure they gain employment and graduate within six years."

Wayfinders - Through Wayfinders, high-school scholars are placed in camp leadership roles, job-shadowing roles, paid internships or jobs, and career-focused summer camps. During the year, scholars are offered enrichment opportunities, including their unique Ready to Launch curriculum, which offers steps for scholars as they prepare for and navigate the college application process. The Wayfinders theory of change expects that positive mentor relationships combined with summer camp experiences and year-round enrichment motivates scholars to be successful in school, increases self-confidence and access to educational opportunities, and improves leadership skills. These intermediary outcomes influence more long-term outcomes like academic performance, attendance, graduation, and economic mobility. Last year 50% of graduating scholars entered 4-year college and 50% of graduating scholars entered CPCC. As one parent said, “The best thing about Allie’s summer experience was the opportunity to learn on a college level and get to be a residential student on the college campus where she had the chance to meet new friends that were like-minded.”

Youth Development Initiatives - They provide individualized and comprehensive post-HS preparedness training that combines personal assessment, post HS career research/exploration, and educational pathway planning via their interactive, project-based, and CTE-formatted curriculum called the Life Management Guidance Course. "We primarily work with the high school students who need the MOST support and have developed a strong track record over the years helping these most disadvantaged and at-risk students navigate high school into college/armed forces/technical school.  We also link the post-HS educational/career planning with critical life skills, job readiness, financial literacy, and social-emotional development training. ANY student – no matter their race, socio-economic status, or academic level – will benefit from YDI vocational and career development training, but we particularly work well with alternative learning schools/environments because the need is great."

💜 Please share this story with your college-bound students.

As always, learn more at

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We have so much great news to share from our nonprofit partners about their amazing work. But, we'd love to hear from you. Let us know if you have stories you'd like to tell and we'll make you a guest blogger!!