College Readiness

At the Flamboyan Foundation, we have researched the barriers that students face to college readiness and success, as well as local and national best practices that remove these barriers. We’ve also studied the most effective strategies that schools and nonprofits can use to engage families in guiding their child to and through college through conducting a literature review, holding focus groups with DC families, and piloting strategies at the local level.

Through our research, we’ve learned that parents can most effectively guide their child’s path through the following three supports:

  1. Timely and accurate information about how to help their child be prepared for college, apply for college, select a college, pay for college, and stay in college.
  2. Opportunities to network with each other and form a strong peer support group of families to share challenges and successes. For example, creating a parent support group for first generation families who have freshman in college.
  3. To attend college visits and experience a college campus—activities, culture, dorm life, student services, firsthand.

In our inaugural year, we supported a small pilot at Duke Ellington School of the Arts through their College Summit Program for seniors. In addition to their traditional programming, Duke Ellington added a family engagement component to their work, with the goal of increasing the number of students that chose good match schools with high 5-6 year graduation rates. This family engagement program had two components:

  1. A college tour for families and students with record attendance.
  2. Four seminars during the year on important topics: Creating a college list, paying for college, choosing a college, and successfully transitioning to college.

Currently, we are launching learning partnerships to support more college readiness and success programs to integrate family engagement into their work by piloting a specific family engagement strategy that will improve their outcomes for kids. Our hope is that this will give us more valuable information on what family engagement strategies work for students in a variety of different contexts, and provide a much needed space for organizations to share best practices and problem solve around challenges related to family engagement.