College Retention and Success Overview

College Retention and Success Overview

Philadelphia Futures' support continues well after students receive their high school diplomas. The depth and duration of our services distinguish Philadelphia Futures from other college access programs.

To meet the challenges that low-income, first-generation-to-college students often confront while earning their college degrees, our Office of College Retention and Success (OCRS) supports Sponsor-A-Scholar (SAS) and College Connection students throughout their college years. We provide ongoing guidance and financial resources for students as they earn their degrees and enter the world of work. Philadelphia Futures' staff regularly provides intensive, individualized guidance to collegians on academic, personal and financial issues, removing obstacles before they become barriers to success.

Philadelphia Futures' collegians are achieving record-setting results:

  • 98% of Sponsor-A-Scholars students have matriculated to college, attending a range of private and public institutions
  • The projected college graduation rates for the High School Sponsor-A-Scholar Classes of 2005-2011 is 71%
  • 43% of the Sponsor-A-Scholar Class of 2011 will earn a degree in four year and the projected six-year college graduation rate for this Class is 70%.
  • 82% of students who have been accepted into a partner college have graduated or are still enrolled in school working towards their degree

OCRS program components include:

Individualized Academic and Personal Support

The OCRS staff provides personalized guidance concerning academic, social and personal issues, including accessing on-campus resources for tutoring and counseling; managing time, stress and family problems; setting goals; and communicating with professors and administrators. A policy of proactive advising enables OCRS staff to provide early intervention to struggling students.

Students participate in twice-yearly mandatory meetings to monitor grades, review progress toward academic and career goals and troubleshoot problems as they arise. The OCRS staff keeps in touch regularly via phone, email, campus visits and a collegian blog and social media pages.

Financial Support

Upon graduation from high school and enrollment in college, collegians receive financial support from Philadelphia Futures.

Each Sponsor-A-Scholar (SAS) collegian has a $6,000 account with Philadelphia Futures, accessible on a semester-by semester-basis. These funds – contributed by the student's sponsor – are used for books, fees, travel and other college-related expenses. 

Each College Connection student receives a book award of $3,000 to help cover the cost of college textbooks. 

Philadelphia Futures also provides assistance with undergraduate and post-graduate financial aid applications and provides access to last dollar scholarships.

Graduate School and Career Preparation

To help collegians make a successful transition to the world of work, Philadelphia Futures offers individual assistance with resume writing and interviewing skills, help with professional and graduate school exams and preparatory courses and career preparation and job-hunting seminars during semester breaks.

Career Futures Internship Program

Internship OpportunitiesBecause our students often lack professional networks that may lead to internship and employment opportunities while in college, each spring and summer Philadelphia Futures leads its Career Futures internship initiative. Philadelphia Futures partners with a range of corporate, university and government offices to place collegians in internship positions that align with students' academic interests and career goals, and provide them with the opportunity to gain real-world work experience, build their resumes and create professional networks. The Career Futures selection process is competitive; students must apply to participate in Career Futures and are selected by staff members to interview for a position. Students also must complete professional development workshops designed to prepare them for the interview process and to work in a professional environment. For more information about Career Futures and opportunities for your company to host an intern, please contact Amy Perez, Director of College Retention and Success, through This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 215.790.1666, ext. 448.

Positive Peer Networking Opportunities

Programs such as the Annual Conference and the College Kick-off provide forums for collegians to network and gain useful information.

The Dream Team provides intensive support to Philadelphia Futures students attending local colleges and universities. Through monthly group sessions and frequent one-on-one meetings, Philadelphia Futures staff works to support its most vulnerable students in navigating academic, financial and social issues that may arise.

Strategic Partnerships and College Contacts

Philadelphia Futures has formed groundbreaking strategic partnerships with area colleges dedicated to diversity and committed to providing our students with academic and personal support and scholarship aid. Please visit our Strategic College Partnerships page for more information about these college partnerships.

In addition to these formal partnerships, OCRS staff maintains relationships with key campus personnel at colleges where a cohort of Philadelphia Futures students is enrolled. Ongoing communication with staff members within ACT 101, TRIO Student Support Services, Multicultural Affairs, Financial Aid and other critical resources allows OCRS staff to refer collegians to the appropriate services on each campus.