We coordinate meaningful enrichment experiences outside of the classroom that enable students to network, gain comfort and confidence in the world outside of school, and develop non-cognitive college skills like self-advocacy, resiliency, and leadership. Services include:
Dynamic after-school activities on- and off-site
Weekend and summer programs
Academically challenging pre-college residential programs Internships and work-based learning
Trips and guest speaker series
Students from low-income families have less opportunities to visit college campuses or experience college life prior to applying to college. Despite this, we know students are statistically more likely to apply to college after stepping foot on a college campus. We help students understand and embrace the value of college and we provide constant exposure to college so that students gain fluency in college terms, see themselves attending college, and know how to choose and apply to the right schools for them.
Each year, students in grades 9-11 have the opportunity to visit colleges. These trips focus on a different region of the country and take place during the spring. College visits give students the opportunity to take campus tours, attend information sessions, dine and have discussions with current students, and attend classes.
WHEELS holds all students to high expectations that ensure college-readiness and success, and implements structures that promotes college awareness. By leveraging our partnership with Blue Engine, our curriculum is accelerated so that students begin Regents level courses in eighth grade and proceed quickly to Advanced Placement (AP) courses during high school.
College Prep Courses
Beginning in the 10th grade, this course allows students to understand the college-going process, prepare for PSAT and SAT tests, conduct research on various schools, gain a greater understanding of the college application and the financial aid process and discuss issues that might arise in college.
Each year, WHEELS seniors march through their neighborhood to the post office to mail their college applications. This procession helps build a sense of community in our school, awareness in grades six through eleven about college, and support around our seniors.
WHEELS implements a differentiated approach to college advising that assists and supports each student in finding the right school, answering questions and concerns, creating a college-focused senior plan, and discussing future plans.
WHEELS is committed to helping students achieve competitive standardized test scores that allow them to apply to a college of his/her choice.
At WHEELS, 100% of our students apply to college and complete the FAFSA. Through a series of workshops, students get the support they need when completing college and FAFSA applications. Students also receive application fee waivers as needed.
Weekly college lessons and discussions with an experienced college counselor beginning with a College Prep class in the fall and culminating with a College Transition class in the spring semester.
We support students through the transition to college and ensure that they continue to draw on their skills and resources to confront new academic, social, and financial circumstances.
Alumni Advising Program
Our Alumni Support Coordinator coaches students through their transition to college and provides ongoing support through campus visits and consistent check-ins. Each graduate will provide the WHEELS College Office with their recent contact information, correspond monthly, submit semester grades, meet at least one time a year with a designated WHEELS Alumni contact and attend two WHEELS Alumni Days. The Alumni Support Coordinator tracks and manages information about our alumni to identify strategies for reaching and increasing college persistence and graduation rates.
Summer Bridge Program
WHEELS partners with The Opportunity Network to create a Summer Bridge Program for graduates that will address issues around diversity, finance, and overall adjustment to college life. The program bolsters students’ social and emotional capacity to deal with the transition from home to college while providing them with tools to navigate campus life. During the three-day program, graduates participate in a number of workshops, including: Diversity on College Campus Budgeting and Financial Management Finding and Forming Communities on Campus Anatomy of a College Campus Self-Advocacy on Campus Off to College Check-list Career Fluency Workshop WHEELS partners with The Opportunity Network to deliver Career Fluency services to our alumni. Alumni can choose to participate in an annual networking event where they learn new ways to expand their networks on campus for college success and build their professional networks for meaningful summer internships. Alumni also work on refining their networking etiquette and how they can mobilize the social capital embedded within their support networks.