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Table of Contents 1

The State of Education in America


Explaining the Dropout Rate


Factors that Contribute to the Dropout Rate


Addressing the Dropout Rate


Addressing College Preparedness


PACE Case Studies: Mentoring, Assemblies and March to College™ Day Examples

5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Robert Morris University New Mexico State University Purdue University Houston Community College Syracuse University The University of Alabama The University of Arizona The University of Kansas University of Maryland, Baltimore County University of Miami University of Pittsburgh University of Washington



NSCS PACE Volunteer Survey Results

The State of Education in

AMERICA Education in America is a dispersed quality, varying based on state, county and cities throughout the nation. The realities of the dropout rate imply education in America is inadequate to serve the needs of students, for example, along the east coast minority groups are dropping out of high school at alarming rates. This particular region constitutes a substantial portion of America’s 2,000 lowest performing institutions, producing over half of high school dropouts1. According to the Alliance for Excellent Education, on average, 7,000 students drop out of school every day.2 Meanwhile, completing high school is tantamount to excelling in society, because a diploma is required for most forms of employment; it is required to attend college, and a rigorous high school curriculum prepares students by instilling a fundamental understanding of core curriculum components (i.e. reading, writing and math).3

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) addresses issues that reflect the state of education in America through a program titled the NSCS Planning to Achieve Collegiate Excellence (PACE) Program. The NSCS PACE Program has three components: • • •

Mentoring and tutoring Assemblies March to CollegeTM Day (M2CD)

Mentoring and tutoring seeks to address issues by creating a relationship between high school or middle school students and PACE college volunteers. Assemblies are an in-school presentation with the objective to explain the college application process and how to excel once in college. March to College™ Day allows youth to get on a local campus and experience a day in the life of a college student.




M2CD 3 1 2

1 The Case for PACE

Explaining the Dropout

Factors that Contribute to the Rate

Various studies have been published over the last decade attempting to describe the causes of the dropout rate, and while the rate is high, it does constitute a decrease since the 1980s. Factors that have contributed to improvement, however, do not necessarily denote an improved state of education. Instead, the requirements in the workforce surrounding education have changed. First, as already shown, employment requirements have matured and demand a more educated workforce since the 1980s. The demand for a more educated workforce will continue, and employers will surely be seeking less of those with just high school diplomas and even less with no diploma at all.4 Ultimately, because employers will continue to demand that the workforce is more educated, the dropout rate continues to comprise a significant issue with regards to education in America. A high school education is a fundamental

necessity to obtaining a good job and maintaining a healthy life style. However, as research shows, a high school diploma is not enough; a college education must be encouraged and universally available.

4 5

A recent study conducted by Civic Enterprises, a non-partisan education and poverty research and advocacy group, surveyed recent high school dropouts to reveal six areas that described why students drop out: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Relationship between student and educator Disruptiveness of peers Pace of instruction Personal problems of the student Weak academic skills Economic needs of a student’s house hold

Thus, while there are varying factors that may contribute to the dropout rate, remedies to those factors are clear, such as “students in small appreciate the increased attention and the opportunity to work at their own pace.”5 Programs that seek to address the specific needs of the student show the most success; one program that is effective in addressing the dropout rate is mentoring. The National Society of Collegiate Scholars 2

the Dropout Rate Mentoring addresses five of the six areas mentioned above (exclusive of economic needs). Generally, mentoring is divided into two camps. The first is communitybased mentoring (CBM) and the other is school-based mentoring (SBM). CBM allows for pupils to see a different type of role model that they may not be accustomed to, such

as a lawyer or police officer who is from the same socioeconomic background. This encourages the student to believe that success is possible. Similarly, SBM encourages academic prosperity. The effects of both approaches are described below. Both types have unique factors that make them successful approaches.

Effects of Mentoring:



Increases grades Decreases unexcused absences, tardiness, and bullying

Improves relationships with parents Motivates students toward achieving learning goals

Decreases skipping school

Therefore, mentoring through the NSCS PACE Program has been an effective and capable tool for addressing the high school dropout rate, increasing the college attendance rate, and developing a more capable adult workforce. PACE mentorship programs span across the country and address the

dropout rate by employing both SBM and CBM models in creating tutor based mentorships in high schools and middle schools that show a need for external support.

3 The Case for PACE


Preparedness While the dropout rate remains one of the most important issues affecting high school students and their transition to college, there remains a substantial portion of students who simply are not prepared even though they have completed the high school curriculum. According to a study conducted by US News and The Washington Post, students are continuously not prepared for college. Only one out of every four students even reaches important benchmarks for college and the amount of those unprepared has only increased since No Child Left Behind.6 NSCS addresses this issue through the strategic use of volunteers that facilitate NSCS PACE Programs across the country.

In the 2011-2012 academic year, the PACE Program utilized more than 3,300 NSCS student volunteers and 2,600 other volunteers to provide services to over 9,000 middle school and high school students. With over 5,200 volunteers nationwide, the NSCS PACE Program seeks to address the college preparedness epidemic through assemblies, mentoring and March to College™ Day. March to College™ Day gives students the opportunity to step onto a local campus and experience college firsthand. By attending classes and participating in regular campus activities for a day, students begin thinking about college in a more serious way. Similarly, PACE assemblies address college preparedness as they provide student attendees with information about applying to college, financial aid and resources they can use now to prepare for college success in the future. PACE assemblies bring together the students that receive regular mentoring and tutoring from their local PACE program, as well as additional groups of local youth. Students, faculty and administrators serve as speakers and advise students about the college 6

application process, financial and personal preparedness as well as techniques to excel. Both March to College™ Day and assemblies are supplementary to the mentorship program, which is the single most important factor in increasing student preparation for college. By working one on one with students throughout the semester, tutors are able to build relationships with their mentees, share questions and show increased confidence in their abilities throughout the school year. Successful PACE mentoring programs build upon the relationships they have developed with their PACE school or partner organization. If a chapter continues their mentoring program with the same school the following year, tutors are able to see the impact they had on the student over the course of a year. NSCS is continually developing the PACE Program to track the impact our PACE volunteers have on program participants as well as the impact participants have on PACE volunteers. This year, we surveyed our NSCS volunteers to find out how they feel about PACE and how the program has benefited them academically, personally and professionally.

Out of those NSCS PACE volunteers surveyed, 64% of volunteers participated in mentoring while 33% conducted March to College ™ Day, 27% hosted assemblies and 21% participated in all three NSCS programs. In addition, 42% strongly agreed that they benefited from interactions with the program or school where they volunteered and 41% agreed that they benefited from interactions with fellow PACE volunteers. Overall, 69% of those surveyed strongly agreed that they would recommend that other students volunteer with the NSCS PACE program.

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars 4

PACE Case Studies The following case studies are examples of successful PACE programs at NSCS chapters across the country.

Robert Morris University NSCS Members: 1,087 NSCS PACE Volunteers: 15 Students Reached through PACE Program: 50

This year, the NSCS Chapter at Robert Morris University (RMU) hoped to build upon the success of their PACE program last year and expand upon their mentoring program. VP of PACE, Anthony Livecchi, along with other RMU officers, succeeded in achieving their goal by establishing their own mentoring program with Forest Green Commons and a relationship with Cornell Junior High School.


March to CollegeTM Day

It was a huge goal for RMU to setup their own mentoring program and they did—with Forest Green Commons. Every day, Forest Green Commons hosts an after school program for local youth, participants ranging from 1st grade through 10th grade. While there, NSCS PACE volunteers from RMU meet with the students to help them with homework, play games and generally support the students.

RMU’s NSCS March to College™ Day was very interactive, allowing the visiting students to participate in several hands on activities including a trip to the photography lab dark room and the nursing simulation lab.

The chapter is really proud to have established this relationship and the students they mentor have come to expect the PACE volunteers every week. “The kids are really open with us,”

Livecchi said. “After a few weeks of building trust they literally expected us to be there every week and we were able to build really strong relationships with each of the students and be completely open.” Livecchi admits that he has gained a lot from working with the students as well. “I really love helping as many people as possible and PACE gives me the opportunity to use the resources available through NSCS to help others,” he said. “Gaining the relationships that I’ve built with the other NSCS members as well as the kids that I’ve been dealing with it really helps me put my life into perspective. I can think that I’m having a terrible day and go talk to some kids and feel better about myself and my day and hopefully do the same for someone else.”

5 The Case for PACE

The 29 visiting students from Cornell Junior High School toured the photography lab and created their own photos. Afterward they took a trip to the nursing simulation lab to explore the scientific and medical opportunities available at RMU. “Our simulation lab has real people as patients,” Livecchi said. “They are ’fake‘ but they speak, bleed have pulses. We spent the next 25-30 minutes in the simulation lab where the students listened and learned about the mannequins.” As the day progressed, the students were given a campus tour where they visited the theater, business building and dorm rooms. Throughout the day, the students were constantly asking questions about college life and their individual interests. According to Livecchi, answering the student’s questions was the most important. “A lot of their

questions about college got answered,” he said. “Dorm life, sports, band, anything, they had the opportunity to ask anything and get answers for their questions.”

New Mexico State University NSCS Members: 3,051 NSCS PACE Volunteers: 20 Students Reached through PACE Program: 250

The NSCS Chapter at New Mexico State University (NMSU) kicked off their inaugural PACE program this year. Their goals were to bring firsthand knowledge and experience to younger students and to show them how to be successful in college. Through strong mentoring-focused assemblies and March to College™ Day the chapter was able to reach over 250 students in Las Cruces, NM.


March to CollegeTM Day

New Mexico State University chapter members utilized the power of assemblies to give students from Lynn Middle School and Camino Real Middle School insight on a wide array of educational preparation from academic success in middle school to applying and excelling in college.

For March to College™ Day, the NMSU chapter invited students from Lynn Middle School and Camino Real Middle School to campus for a day to get a feel for the college experience. Approximately 200 students participated to expand the reach to a wider audience.

Each assembly lasted all day, consisting of 10 sessions, each 40 minutes in length and reaching approximately 240 students total. Using small group presentations the theme of each assembly was college preparation, including financial planning and scholarship options. After each assembly, the chapter surveyed the students who participated to ask about their experience. The results of the survey helped the chapter measure success and provided insight on what can be done to improve the assemblies in the future. According to VP of PACE, Miguel Sosa, the assemblies were a huge success. “The feedback we received from the students and the administration showed that they found the information interesting and helpful,” he said. “The assembly showed many of the students that they could attend college when they might have previously felt that they couldn’t.”

The NMSU chapter invited students from the middle schools where they held their assemblies earlier in the year so the visiting students were already familiar with the NSCS volunteers. “Since we visited Lynn in October and Camino visited us in November, the students saw some familiar NSCS faces the minute they got off the bus,” Sosa said. During their visit to campus, the students toured the campus activity center, individual college buildings and the dormitories. During the tour, each student was separated into a college interest group designated by their school. The groups included art/ creative media, government/criminal justice, business, health and social services, agriculture, hotel tourism and management, education, and engineering. Visiting students were led by student ambassadors and participated in a tour of the college to presentations and hands on activities. After the campus tour, the students ate lunch at the NMSU cafeteria and then played games on the intramural fields. The students enjoyed playing and relaxing with NSCS members and NSCS members did more than just walk the students around campus and play games with them on the fields. The visiting students looked up to the NSCS members as mentors. “We were able to show the students that attending college is possible and that it allows for many opportunities for the future,” Sosa said. “I felt good overhearing students saying that the campus was cool or they liked what a student ambassador had said. Students came up to me and other NSCS members and thanked us for hosting the event. I am sure that we changed the way they think about college and their future.

We stressed the importance of this time in their life (moving from middle school to high school) and some of them listened! We saw it!”

“The assembly showed many of the students that they could attend college when they might have previously felt that they couldn’t.”

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars 6

Purdue University

NSCS Members: 5,410 NSCS PACE Volunteers: 20 Students Reached through PACE Program: 200 The NSCS Chapter at Purdue University’s PACE program has been providing mentoring services to Klondike Middle School for over four years, and works with Tecumseh Middle School as well. According to co-VP of PACE, Marianne Westrick, “Not only do we have great relationships with Klondike Middle School and Tecumseh Middle School, but we also work with businesses to get sponsorships for our March to College Day program.” It’s clear the Purdue chapter works hard to maintain a strong PACE program and this year was no exception.



March to CollegeTM Day

Purdue mentors meet with students from Klondike Middle School three times a week throughout the entire school year. Each mentoring cycle begins with a collaboration plan, developed between Purdue PACE volunteers and administration at the middle school. This discussion allows for a synchronization of schedules to develop a tutoring calendar that is that is readily available for parents, faculty and students.

Purdue’s PACE assembly was integrated into the annual career fair held at Klondike Middle School in West Lafayette, Indiana. During the career fair, the chapter had representatives from several different majors available to talk to students and answer questions about study habits, college classes, and clubs and was able to show the students how each major can transition into a career.

Purdue prepared for March to College™ Day by getting as much sponsorship and volunteers as possible to make the day a success. Their efforts were not in vain as over 500 students from Tecumseh Middle School attended March to College™ Day at Purdue University this year.

Approximately 15 students attend every mentoring session. Each session lasts an hour and a half and mentors primarily help the students with homework through the after school program, Gold Rush Club. Over time, PACE volunteers indicate they begin to notice a change in the behavior of the students; some of the rambunctious students begin to quiet and Westrick shares, “We also see a change in the more reserved students. They always end up asking lots of questions by the end of the semester, which is great for us.”

Approximately 275 students attended the career fair and cycled through the different tables to learn more about college and college preparation. NSCS volunteers feel the assembly at the career fair served its purpose and that the attendees now see college in a different light. “The kids at Klondike Middle School are lucky because they live in a college town and are exposed to Purdue University activities, such as sports and community outreach programs, all of the time,” Westrick said. “We show[ed] them that Purdue is not just a school to root for at basketball games, but that Purdue can provide a valuable education that will shape the rest of their lives.”

Westrick adds that the tutors hold themselves accountable when participating in the after school program. “Whenever

we tutor, we always try to show the students good study habits and work ethic,” she said. “The tutors from NSCS take their own work to the school to work on if there aren’t any questions. We hold ourselves to a high standard of conduct while we’re at Klondike. We try to lead by example.”

7 The Case for PACE

Throughout the day, the visiting students participated in academic, residential and athletic tours to experience the campus firsthand. “Throughout each of the tours they are able to learn about the history and traditions of each part of the campus,” said co-VP of PACE, Audrey Putnam. However, the most important message of the day was to make sure the students’ questions were answered and that they left with a positive outlook on college preparation and success.

“We feel that students have had such a unique experience through our March to College Day and we know that we treated them to many different opportunities on campus to help them experience college for the first time,” Putnam said. The Purdue NSCS chapter attributes the success of their program to collaboration among the officer board, volunteers and strong relationships with Purdue faculty. “Our closest relationships are with academic and residential facilities to plan dorm tours and lunch” Putnam said. “This relationship is imperative in making March to College Day a success.”

Houston Community College NSCS Members: 780 NSCS PACE Volunteers: 14 Students Reached through PACE Program: 100

The NSCS Chapter at Houston Community College (HCC) distinguished their PACE Program by involving other organizations on campus including the Omega Sigma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa. Through their PACE partnership with the Nehemiah Center, HCC was able to help students from low-income families receive the support they need and learn the steps they can take to reach their potential.



March to CollegeTM Day

Above all else, Houston Community College volunteers sought to develop a relationship with their mentees in their NSCS mentoring program. HCC teamed up with Nehemiah Center and the Omega Sigma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa to create a dynamic relationship-centered program in which mentors focused on providing mentees with a listening outlet, so that mentees felt free to talk about anything they’d like. Belmarez, said, “Most of the time, we are just listening to the students because they have no one else that they can talk to.”

HCC held two assemblies this year in collaboration with the Omega Sigma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa. The theme of each assembly focused on right brain versus left brain dominance and how to use the findings to choose a career and major. The first assembly focused on the importance of choosing a career, a major, and filing a degree plan early. The second assembly allowed two high school seniors to use the information that was presented to them from the first assembly to create their own presentation and deliver it to the younger students at the Nehemiah Center. This allowed them to “pay it forward” and develop and demonstrate their leadership skills while mentoring a further subset of students.

For M2CD, HCC measured success through student interaction during the campus tour and presentations. Approximately 25 students from the Nehemiah Center visited HCC for the day and were engaged and enthusiastic participants. The students were able to take tours of the campus that were guided by the NSCS Executive Vice President and VP of PACE. Throughout the tour, the students learned unique facts about each building and were able to get a feel for the campus experience at HCC. “The most important aspect

The HCC NSCS mentorship program has grown since its creation just a year ago. It originally started with the NSCS president at Houston Community College volunteering by herself to mentor kids. Now the program has over 30 participants, ranging from 6th to 12th grade. “Mentoring makes me feel like I am giving back to our society,” Belmarez said. “I remember that I really had not had anyone in my life to be an example and go to college when I was the same age as the students. I am glad to be able to reach out to these students who come from at risk schools and neighborhoods of Houston.”

According to HCC’s Vice President of PACE, Mark Belmarez, the students that attended the assemblies left with their questions answered and that was a huge success. “I felt that the assembly did have a positive impact on the students because of the types of questions they were asking. I could tell that they really did think about going to college and that there was someone that was able to answer some of their questions.”

of March to College is the chance for the students to actually go tour a college campus,” Belmarez said. “It really sets the tone and it gives the students the feeling of ‘Yeah! I am going to go here!’” The presentations were also insightful and the students were asked a series of questions including what they want to be when they grow up. Not only was the experience exciting and stimulating for the students, it also left an impression with the PACE volunteers as well. “Our members have gained leadership and service experience that they will use throughout their lives,” Belmarez said.

“Most of the time, we are just listening to the students because they have no one else that they can talk to.” The National Society of Collegiate Scholars 8

Syracuse University

NSCS Members: 5,410 NSCS PACE Volunteers: 20 Students Reached through PACE Program: 200 The NSCS Chapter at Syracuse University fused poetry into their PACE program to help students find their voices and tell their life stories creatively. Goals for PACE this year included increasing the number of students involved in their mentoring program and creating a sustainable program that can be implemented each year with different students.



NSCS members at Syracuse implemented elements of creative arts by creating and implementing a truly unique PACE mentoring program for the students of Syracuse Academy of Science. Each mentoring session was dedicated to a theme and students work with mentors to apply their life experiences and skills to said theme by writing a poem, skit, rap, story, or drawing that expresses their relationship to it. “Mentoring makes me feel like I have the power to help young people overcome their issues inside of school and outside of school,” Hawkins said. “I like being able to relate to students that are in high school dealing with similar situations that I dealt with through poetry.”

Building on the creative arts theme, Syracuse volunteers created a poetry slam competition where the high school participants, as opposed to PACE volunteers, created the dialogue. Discussing topics such as peer pressure, gang violence, teen pregnancy, self-esteem, politics, and race, all factors that play a part in preparing for college.

Last year, the program served 48 students, but as a result of their successes, the program now serves almost 90 students in multiple grade levels. Mentoring takes on an entirely new context with the NSCS Syracuse Chapter, and the relationship built within the program between high school and college students continue after both have moved on.

allowed some students to perform in front of a large group of people for the first time and to raise confidence in their public speaking,” she said. “The assembly also served as a source of inspiration for the student audience. By hearing their peers’ stories

Since Syracuse’s PACE relationship is structured through creative arts expression, Hawkins created the MESH literary magazine so the students can share their writing with the Syracuse community. She also

provides the students with copies of the literary magazine and maintains communication through email that results in a mentorship that will surely last a lifetime.

9 The Case for PACE

Students were able to explore issues of applying to college by looking inward and exploring who they are, their unique experiences and what issues they face in the college application process. According to the chapter’s VP of PACE, Christiona Hawkins, “The assembly

and performances, some students were inspired to write new poems and perform them in front of others.”

With 27 performers and over 60 spectators, the assembly was considered a positive and successful event. Peers hearing the stories of other peers provided them with insight and inspiration to improve themselves.

The University of Alabama NSCS Members: 8,348 NSCS PACE Volunteers: 15 Students Reached through PACE Program: 150

The University of Alabama (UA) NSCS chapter’s goal for PACE this year was to “create a program that would be rewarding to the kids and encourage them as they grow and think about their futures,” said VP of PACE, Jasmine Cannon. By working with Davis Emerson Middle School and Tuscaloosa One Place students to share an open exchange of ideas, the University of Alabama was able to establish an effective, multifaceted PACE program.


March to CollegeTM Day

According to Cannon, hosting a PACE assembly this year differentiated the chapter’s PACE program from last year. “I think having an assembly this year is the biggest change and had a grand impact on the college students that participated and the middle school kids,” she said. “This year we are getting more people involved and being more active and persistent in making PACE successful.”

UA was one of several universities to join the movement and participate in the first annual National March to College Day on March 29, 2012 held at colleges and universities across the country. During the event, UA hosted approximately 50 students from Davis Emerson Middle School for one day on campus.

For their assembly, UA brought various members of the university and middle school communities together to provide a well rounded experience to the students of Davis Emerson Middle School. The assembly helped 75 middle school students understand the college application process and provided useful information on achieving in college once admitted. The chapter brought representatives from their student government, community service office, pre-law student association, and the Black Student Union, in an effort to bring people from various cultural, social and professional backgrounds. This diversity of the program helped students identify with participants and was key to the program success. “I think the most important part of our assembly was that we provided the kids with information from people who are experiencing college right now,” Cannon said.

The UA chapter hosted a campus tour, including a visit to the historic Foster Auditorium for the visiting students. Professors and students spoke about college expectations, classes and athletics and the students were provided lunch in the cafeteria. According to Cannon, the success of the event depends largely on help from others as it’s important to represent different experiences so the students are exposed to as many opportunities as possible. “The event provides young people with the chance to experience college first hand,” she said. “Experience is the best teacher and

exposure to a university at a young age embeds the possibility and likeliness of college in their brains.”

Mentoring UA partners with Tuscaloosa One Place, an organization focused on bettering the Tuscaloosa community, to mentor students of Davis Emerson Middle School. Through this partnership, UA has created a dynamic and annually growing mentorship program that is mutually rewarding for mentors and mentees. Their program serves between 30 and 50 students each week. “There is dual achievement in our

relationship,” Cannon said. “Mentors have the chance to touch lives and provide insight of what the mentees will experience in the future and the mentees also touch our lives and are given the opportunity to get a firsthand look at college.” The UA PACE program has created a unique partnership based on community building; university, middle school and non-profit resources come together to create a dynamic program where every participant has the opportunity to experience college, enhance their academics and receive positive influences.

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars 10

The University of Arizona NSCS Members: 8,348 NSCS PACE Volunteers: 60 Students Reached through PACE Program: 230

The primary goal for PACE this year for NSCS Chapter at The University of Arizona (UA) was to host a successful March to College™ Day. The chapter members came together to plan the event with Mansfield Middle School students and not only met expectations, but exceeded them.


March to CollegeTM Day

The UA chapter started a new relationship with Mansfield Middle School for their PACE mentoring program. The chapter visits the school three times a week to work one on one with the students benefitting approximately 8 students per week. “I love tutoring,” said VP of PACE

The 220 visiting students from Mansfield Middle School started their day with a campus tour in which the students were able to see the rec center, dorms and basketball court among other sites. The students also had the opportunity to chat with some of the UA athletes. Engaging presentations followed when a few professors talked about college expectations, goal setting and applying to college. O’Connor shared, “I feel our main take home message was to work hard, keep up the good work because it does pay off in the end and that it’s not just about school but all the fun experiences they can have while in college.”

co-chair, Nicole O’Connor. “I think it’s really rewarding to see when kids get that ‘aha’ moment and you can see the connection being made.”

Although the officer board is primarily new this year, by working together, the chapter was able to setup a regular mentoring program, a program they hope to build upon next year. “We walked into it with kind of a rocky start,” O’Connor said. “But we definitely were able to make connections and it’s been rewarding to see how far we’ve come and overcome the struggles to get things done.” Adding to the chapter’s struggles this year was the fact that many schools are now requiring finger print clearance cards for students that volunteer to tutor at the school. These cards cost $65 and many students have a hard time purchasing the card. However, Nicole and the other officers have not let this deter them from developing a successful tutoring program this year, if anything the challenges have only made the chapter better prepared for the next year’s program. “Having things in place for next year will be much easier so we can have more active members and more volunteer opportunities for our members,” O’Connor said.

11 The Case for PACE

Lastly, the students were able to sit in on an astronomy class for 30 minutes. According to O’Connor, it’s clear that the students were impacted by what they had experienced at UA. “Some of the kids even pulled

us aside,” she said. “I had one kid thank me for doing this, he said, ‘I’ve never been on campus and neither of my parents went to college and I want to go!’ I feel like we impacted the kids and they all seemed to bond with us.”

The University of Kansas

NSCS Members: 5,282 NSCS PACE Volunteers: 20 Students Reached through PACE Program: 220 The NSCS Chapter at University of Kansas (KU) differentiated their PACE Program from last year by not only continuing to develop their established mentoring program, but also hosting a successful March to College™ Day. To achieve this goal, VP of PACE, Megan Wells, coordinated a PACE committee to include more volunteers to help plan and implement the big day.

Mentoring The KU Chapter’s mentoring program is unique in that the chapter has relationships with four different schools: Free State High School, Lawrence High School, Central Middle School and Quail Run Elementary. A few of the schools are continued relationships from previous years, however, some of the schools are new to their PACE program. By partnering with so many schools, KU mentors have shown they’re doing their part to make an impact amongst students of different ages and backgrounds. Mentors choose which grade level they prefer to work with and commit to

mentoring one or two times per week for at least one hour. The mentoring lesson varies depending on the student’s age but primarily happens through one on one tutoring or small group tutoring efforts.

younger students, the chapter follows up with the teacher to learn how the mentees are progressing.

“For the high school level it’s a lot of understanding information the students go over in class,” Wells said. “But with the elementary students it’s not only covering what they do in the classroom, but providing them with someone to talk to as well.” Midway through the year, the chapter volunteers also follow up with their mentees via e-mail to learn how they’re doing on their exams. For the

we’re giving back to the community in a meaningful way,” Wells said. “I think [the students] definitely become more confident by the end of the semester. The teachers will let us know they are more involved in class discussions and talking all the time now.”

Throughout the year, KU mentors have reached over 200 students. “I feel that

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars 12

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County NSCS Members: 2,260 NSCS PACE Volunteers: 50 Students Reached through PACE Program: 100

The NSCS Chapter at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) set out to fulfill all PACE objectives and have an impact on students through their mentoring program and March to College™ Day event.


March to CollegeTM Day

The mentoring and tutoring program at UMBC was founded on the principle of helping students achieve their dreams. According to VP of PACE, Amanda Lo, the best part about tutoring is,

The goal for March to College ™ Day at UMBC this year was to inspire the visiting students to believe in themselves and believe that they can go to college. Lo said, “We wanted to motivate the students to further their education on to college and I think we met that goal by the end of the day. Approximately 100 students from Catonsville High School visited UMBC for March to College™ Day. Students were welcomed by the University Provost who spoke to the students about UMBC and college education. A panel featuring representatives from a variety of student organizations also provided their insights and answered student questions.

“How we can reach people who are in need in academic areas and see progress. Maybe they have dreams for the future but perhaps they don’t know how to get there. Through tutoring we can help them reach whatever dream career they have for the future.” Every week, UMBC mentors meet with students from Maree G. Farring Elementary School to help with academics and tutor the students in areas in which they need help. Approximately 20 students are tutored each week through the program. “We tell them there’s still light at the end of the tunnel and through working together we can overcome any barriers,” Lo said.

13 The Case for PACE

Other highlights included information from the financial aid office about loans and scholarships followed by the campus tour. The day ended with an engaging presentation from UMBC University President, Dr. Hrabowski. Overall the day was a huge success for students and volunteers.

“At the end of the presentation, he [Dr. Hrabowski] asked how many students wanted to go to college and 100% of the students raised their hands,” Lo said. Many students approached me and told me that they wanted to go to UMBC in the future because it’s such a great school.”

University of Miami

NSCS Members: 3,545 NSCS PACE Volunteers: 40 Students Reached through PACE Program: 75 NSCS Chapter of the University of Miami started their PACE Program this year. Their goal was to get as many members involved as possible, create successful PACE events and form camaraderie among members.


March to CollegeTM Day

Miami’s PACE Program focused on creating a safe and comfortable environment where students can learn. Through a partnership with Overtown Youth Center, the University of Miami chapter’s mentoring program reaches over 40 students each week. “Partnering with a community center allows us to work with a wide range of students from different schools and grades in an underprivileged community,” said VP of PACE, Melanie Potiaumpai.

The Miami chapter hosted their March to College™ Day on the same day as the University of Miami Relay For Life event, in which NSCS also participated. This was a unique combination as the visiting students were able to learn about college life while experiencing it firsthand at the Relay For Life event.

“Overtown has a average high school graduation rate of 8%. Our PACE program is partnered with the primary center that is diligently working with students to ensure that they are given the same resources and opportunities to be well-qualified to graduate.” Consistency was also a primary objective this year, ensuring that volunteers consistently volunteer to allow for a more dynamic and personal relationship between mentor and mentee. “We’ve all been through that stage where asking for help seemed like a sign of weakness or a sign of stupidity when it means the absolute opposite,” Potiaumpai said. “I wanted to make sure that our mentors and mentees felt comfortable enough with each other to keep open and honest lines of communication.” The University of Miami PACE Program also emphasizes preparation for Florida’s standardized exam. As the exam nears, volunteers meet with students every other Saturday, in addition to their once a week meetings, so that students are prepared for their exam. Overall the program has been a huge success this year for both mentors and mentees. “We all have those personal ‘ah-hah!’ moments every single day but to teach others on how to achieve those kinds of moments is beyond satisfying,” Potiaumpai said.

To start the day, approximately 15 visiting students from Overtown Youth Center listened to an engaging presentation about college life, expectations, financial aid, dorms and scholarships. Scholarships and financial aid were key topics discussed during the presentation as it was important for students to understand all the options available for college financing. “We wanted the students to know that they can get to college,” said the chapter’s NSCS national office representative, Sherice Evans. “Even if finances may seem like a barrier, we wanted to let them know there are resources out there to help them.” After the presentations, the students toured the University of Miami campus. They were able to visit a student dorm and stop by the fraternity houses to learn more about Greek life. According to Potiaumpai, the key expectation was to cater to the students’ needs.

“Every event needs to be tweaked so that our audience can garner any valuable information useful to them,” she said. “To make a PACE event successful, our members need to be able to interact with our audience, offer advice and knowledge.” It’s clear the University of Miami chapter accomplished their goal of student engagement as students were constantly asking questions and learning more about college life and expectations throughout the day. To conclude the day’s activities, the University of Miami chapter brought the students to the Relay For Life event where they experienced firsthand what it’s like to participate in a large event on campus. Of course, the students stopped by the NSCS booth and ate lunch and later some of the Overtown students participated in a wing eating contest!

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University of Pittsburgh

NSCS Members: 6,020 NSCS PACE Volunteers: 60 Students Reached through PACE Program: 200 The NSCS Chapter at the University of Pittsburgh increased member participation in their PACE program by getting more mentors involved and reaching a larger number of students through their March to College™ Day. The Pitt Chapter also built upon the successes of past years with a unique addition, the NSCS PACE pen pal program titled: P.O. Letter Box.


March to CollegeTM Day

The University of Pittsburgh NSCS chapter partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Obama Academy and various other organizations to enhance their mentorship program. Additionally, the chapter developed the P.O. Letter Box pen pal program, an acronym which stands for Pittsburgh-Obama, to indicate the partnership between the University of Pittsburgh and the Obama Academy. The pen pal program gives students an opportunity to keep in touch with their mentors while developing their own writing and articulation skills in describing their experiences. The addition of the pen pal program is one way in which the PACE program at Pitt has developed over the years. “We’ve been able to improve the program each year, make changes, make additions, provide more,” said Devlin.

March to College Day at the University of Pittsburgh has become an event the 8th grade students at the Obama Academy look forward to attending. “They hear about it and know it will be their turn soon!” Devlin said. This year, the March to College™ Day tradition hosted 80 students. The students were given a tour of campus, went on a scavenger hunt, visited with a student panel and listened to several engaging speakers, including the Pitt athletic director.

The mentoring program at Pitt reached approximately 20 students each week. It assesses and targets kids in areas of academic challenge by developing a unique tutoring plan for each child, which has been effective in addressing the needs of each student. While mentoring, Pitt works with students to provide a safe and comfortable space for open discussion. “The kids really do look forward to us coming in each week and that makes the work I do for the program feel worth it,” Devlin said.

Assembly During the Pitt PACE assembly, a few NSCS members covered different topics including community service, sports and finding yourself in college. The speakers tried not to talk too long as it was more important to keep the 300+ students engaged and answer the questions that were top of mind to the student. The two-hour assembly rotated students through sessions according to their grade. According to VP of PACE, Derilyn Devlin, the PACE assembly was a success because it allowed “the kids to see and hear from us firsthand about our college experiences. They get excited

about the idea of college and feel a new motivation for working toward their goals.”

15 The Case for PACE

According to Devlin, the most important result of the day is that it gives students the opportunity to see and learn firsthand all that college offers.

“They learn about student organizations, studying abroad, and careers they didn’t know existed,” Devlin said. “It shows them what college really is and allows for conversations between us and them. It’s one thing to hear about college. But to actually walk around campus, go to the top of the Cathedral, stand in the lobby of the dorms that makes it all the more real for them.”

University of Washington

NSCS Members: 6,518 NSCS PACE Volunteers: 25 Students Reached through PACE Program: 150 The NSCS Chapter at the University of Washington (UW) has had a strong PACE program in place for several years. This year, they added to their success by expanding their mentoring program to reach more students. Through mentoring and March to College™ Day, the chapter has developed close bonds with the students at Northgate Elementary School.


March to CollegeTM Day

Targeting 4th and 5th Graders, the mentoring program at the University of Washington is over three years old and continues to grow annually. This year, the chapter was able to adopt an additional classroom and serve over 75 middle school students. Because UW has mentoring relationships with 4th grade and 5th grade classrooms, , they are able to monitor and track success of students as they matriculate to the higher grade the following year. “From one-on-one reading help, math,

March to College™ Day at the University of Washington was attended by 5th grade students from Northgate Elementary School. The 50 visiting students started their day with a tour of the Henry Art Gallery. The students were able to handle different types of pottery, see some of the different painting, ceramics, and clothes exhibits and the kids even had fun activities such as drawing what their favorite clay tea cup would look like (mimicking a display of a variety of them) and designed a shirt that could be in a museum some day. Next the students made their way to the famed Drumheller Fountain where they received a personal performance from the UW Husky Marching Band.

spelling, story-telling and group science experiments, we really get to assist the teachers with whatever they need, and have a fun time with the kids while we’re teaching and helping them,” said VP of PACE, Emily Fowler. “It’s also unique because sometimes we get to work with the kids over consecutive years if we work with their 4th grade or 4th/5th split class then have them again the next year!”

UW attributes it success to its collaboration between students, faculty and staff at Northgate Elementary and has proven that their approach is not only efficient as they have the capacity to mentor a lot students, but it is also effective. “It really makes me feel happy when I’m there volunteering and getting to see the differences we make as we see the kids for an entire school year,” Fowler said.

Of course the day wouldn’t be complete without a tour of the UW campus. The tour included a trip to the UW Greenhouse where the students learned about different types of tropical plants, a few familiar ones such as orchids, cocoa, coffee, bananas, and the carnivorous plants as well as the different habitats and unique species that have evolved. Due to the ability to interact at the greenhouse, the students asked a lot of questions about a subject they were previously not familiar.

Fowler feels the day was a huge success and adds that although “College is still a long way away for these kids, they got a bit of a sneak peek of our campus and how much fun we have here, all the classes you can take, and just a lot of learning!” Students got to see college upfront and personal, and their continued questioning certainly shows that the efforts of NSCS at University of Washington were well received and successful. There is no doubt that these 5th graders will know that college is an option for them.

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APPENDIX NSCS PACE Volunteer Survey Results

17 The Case for PACE

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19 The Case for PACE

The Case for PACE was designed by Glenn Madigan, NSCS Member Columbia College Chicago

The Case for PACE by The National Society of Collegiate Scholars

Case for Pace