"Equity is our students standing as themselves, dreaming without limits, accessing opportunities, helping their families, lifting their communities, impacting their world. Equity is our reason for being, our solution, and the world we want to live in."
- YURI SHANE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Access Opportunity supports high-achieving students from low-income households for six years, following a selective admissions process in the spring of 10th grade. Our students are ambitious, community-minded young leaders who hope to use their education in order to make change in their communities. The ultimate goal of Access Opportunity is to help our students, their families, and their communities reach their full potential.
11th Grade through First-Year of College
Community-Building, Self-Discovery, & Test Prep
Students are welcomed into the program at our June workshop, an overnight experience with the Colorado Outward Bound School and one of two annual events where our entire community comes together. Students spend their first year learning about leadership in monthly cohort workshops, receiving private SAT and ACT tutoring from Denver Test Prep, and discovering best-fit colleges in one-on-one meetings with their AO Counselor.
Personalized College & Financial Aid Counseling
During senior year, students continue to work with an AO Counselor who receives training in college advising best practices from the College Essay Guy. Students meet one-on-one with their counselor to work through each step of the college and financial aid application process, from application to enrollment.
College Transition Support & Peer Mentorship
Students continue to receive one-on-one support from an AO Counselor in their transition from high school to college. They also are paired with an AO Peer Mentor, who is trained in a mentorship curriculum designed in collaboration with the Renee Crown Wellness Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Second through Fourth Year of College
Career Assessment, Education, & Development
In the summer between students' first- and second-year of college, they participate in an 8-week summer bootcamp that introduces them to various industries and helps them build competencies identified by the National Association of Colleges and Employers as essential for career success. These topics are explored in more detail in presentations from industry leaders throughout the year.
2ND YEAR & BEYOND
Personalized Career Counseling & Cohort Model
Students continue to receive one-on-one support from AO Counselors to utilize resources on their campuses, apply for career opportunities, and identifying mentors in their fields of interest. Students sustain the relationships built with their cohort in quarterly meetings discussing career readiness from an equity lens.
Why We're Unique
Our students put themselves on the path to college and career success by applying for our program. They know better than anyone what support they need. That's why we formed our Student Advisory Group to incorporate the student voice into all that we do - from selecting a new class, to engaging our alumni.
We Cultivate Wellness
Social and emotional health affects so many aspects of our daily lives, including college and career success. This is especially true for low-income students, who have fewer resources than their high-income peers. Our Director of Social and Emotional Learning is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who helps to support families and remove barriers that keep students from reaching their college and career goals.
We Develop Changemakers
We look for students who would like to make a difference in the lives of others - whether that is their family, their community, or the world. Throughout their 6-years in the program, we provide our students with opportunities to broaden their network, enhance their unique leadership style, and make an impact.