Our first class of seniors graduated high school eleven years ago, and since then, we have achieved 100% college acceptance and nearly 100% college matriculation. What’s more, IDEA alumni are graduating college at four times the national rate of students from similar socioeconomic backgrounds. We are very proud of our students, who are going on to achieve success in college and in life. But what is our recipe for this success? How are we ensuring our scholars achieve these stellar results?
If students can become independent learners, critical thinkers, and initiative takers, they will thrive in any academic setting.
Our youngest IDEA scholars learn in small groups that give them the personal attention they need to grow and flourish. As our students progress into the upper academy grades and college preparatory, they learn by doing, practicing, asking question, and growing through struggle alongside peers, teachers, and staff.
While our students take on academic challenges to attain mastery, they’re also provided quality support through several key avenues. From academy through college preparatory, our students learn in iLearning Hotspots, which bring computer stations into each classroom, so that every student gets to practice math material personalized to their learning level. Students also learn in the Accelerated Reading Zone with books that students can access based on their reading level, so they can continually grow and advance at the pace just right for them. Both the iLearing Hotspot and the Accelerated Reader Zone are classes taken in addition to general instruction of core subjects with expert teachers.
Read on to hear from IDEA Alumni, who know the IDEA experience best of all! You can apply today for the 2018-2019 school year.
“IDEA teachers challenged me every day, from day one, and that is something I will never forget,” said Omar Martinez, a graduate from IDEA and current freshman at The University of Pennsylvania. “They take something that is super rigorous, and super challenging, and they teach you not only how to take on and overcome the challenge, but also why it’s so important do so.”
In his time at IDEA, Omar took and passed 10 Advanced Placement courses, which kick-started his college career, as his nationally-recognized AP credits transferred to The University of Pennsylvania. Not only was Omar now already aligned with the rigor of a college course and able to bypass required general education classes, he was also able to save thousands of dollars in tuition costs. Omar credits his teachers and friends for pushing him to achieve mastery of his subjects, which is always the academic end-goal at IDEA: “You grow so much at an IDEA school because of how hard educators and staff, and even peers, push you to be your best self.”
IDEA College Counselors are also an important ingredient in our recipe for student success. For an in-depth look at how our college counselors go the extra mile, click here.
Finally, even when our students leave our walls, they are supported by IDEA’s College Success Team. Our job does not end until our students graduate from college. We help students tap into all resources available to help finance the journey to and through college. Through this support, the class of 2017 received more than $20,000,000 in grants and scholarships to help fund their college education. On average, IDEA also awards 20 Give Me 5 Scholarships of $8,000 to IDEA students each year, as well as a one-time, zero-interest emergency loan. Our counselors and alumni support team also check up on students throughout a student’s journey in college—in person, over the phone, and via email—to ensure they have what they need to succeed at the university of their choice.
“IDEA helped me financially when I registered for my AP tests and my ACT tests,” said Paulina Garcia, an IDEA Alumna and current University of Texas at Austin freshman. “They helped me fill out all my FAFSA forms. There is just so much that can overwhelm a student applying to college, and IDEA was so supportive in that way. Because of IDEA, I received so many scholarships I would have never even known to apply for on my own. Currently, about 95% of my college tuition is covered by financial aid. And, IDEA still makes sure I am being supported here in Austin, far from my home in the Rio Grande Valley.”