College & Career Clubs of America

Empowering middle school students with the knowledge to apply to, pay for, succeed in, and graduate from college on time, with little to no debt.

The Problem

According to a report published by the Department of Education, during the 2009-10 school year, only 78.2 percent of high school students nationwide graduated on time.  While this figure is up substantially from 73.4 percent recorded in 2005-6, this figure is still dangerously high. States in the Southeastern United States such as South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Louisiana lead the nation in the highest dropout rates, each reporting graduation rates below 70%.  Education Secretary Arne Duncan noted that the national dropout rate is still “unsustainably high for a knowledge-based economy and still unacceptably high in our African-American, Latino, and Native-American communities.”   While the graduation rate has improved for all American students over the past five years, Native Americans, African Americans, and Hispanics still lag significantly behind their peers.

Source: HomeRoom – The Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Education

Our Solution

College & Career Clubs of America addresses the need for a specific, long-term solution.  Our 3-year standards based curriculum teaches college, career, leadership and life skills to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.  Participation results in a student entering high school with a concrete plan for pursuing a purposeful college education, a personally rewarding career and a productive life.

Our Rationale

We believe that IF we engage middle school students in structured, interactive, and fun learning activities on the topics of college, career, leadership, and life skills, THEN these students will feel a greater sense of empowerment, as well as an intrinsic motivation to plan for and achieve success!

Our Approach

Our Approach is simple.  Our 3-year curriculum empowers students to create the future they want through fun activities and group discussions in a supportive environment.

Envision It.

The beginning of middle school is a critical time in a child’s development, academically and socially. The program begins in 6th grade with an exploration of post-high school options and the steps necessary to get there.  Next, we help students envision a future where they are positively contributing to society through successful careers, fulfilling family lives, and valuable community service.

Plan It.

In year 2, we introduce a process which guides students through the necessary steps to plan their academic courses, extracurricular activities, and community service projects in high school. The students engage in “backwards planning” which helps them make quality decision and choices that all point toward their life goals that were established in year 1.

Live It.

In year 3, we teach important life skills which will serve students well throughout their academic years and adult lives. The focus is on personal skills such as:  budgeting, financial responsibility, time management, leadership, interview skills, study habits, and community service. As a result, College & Career Club members begin high school with a blueprint for a successful future.  The first day of ninth grade all the way to graduation day has been mapped out and ready for implementation.

Our Results

Joining College & Career Clubs of America has many benefits:

  • Goals interface with college admissions requirements
  • Designed to prepare students for the demands of college life, both academic and social
  • Forge caring, long-lasting relationships and provide encouragement and tough love when students are not performing up to their potential
  • Long-term tracking of student performance to measure individual, group, and program success
  • Increased daily attendance rate
  • Increased positive classroom behavior and student interactions.
  • Higher student aspirations for high school, college, and life.

Want a College & Career Club at Your School or Organization?

Dream Big is proud to partner with schools, school districts, churches, and community organizations to meet the college prep needs of the youth in our communities.  Interested parties must first hold an Implementation Planning Meeting with a member of the Executive Team and collaboratively develop a Strategic Action Plan that matches Dream Big’s programs and services with the unique needs of the school or organization.

Dream Big supports students in four areas:

  • Academic Development – required to maintain GPA to remain eligible
  • Leadership & Service Development – programs encourage active involvement and leadership development
  • Personal Development – provide training in personal finance and other important success habits
  • College Success Development – expose students to colleges and universities through local and national college tours and development of  a personal college success plan