WHAT we do

Our Mission
Matriculate’s mission is to empower high-achieving, low-income high school students to make the leap to our best colleges and universities.

Our Vision
Our vision is that one day all the best students in America will have access to the best colleges, regardless of their socio-economic status or background, which will give them a unique opportunity to change the trajectory of their own lives and the lives of their families.


Why we do it

The Challenge
Most high-achieving, low-income high school students in the U.S. don't apply to college with enough confidence, knowledge, or strategy.

  • Over 50% of high-achieving, lower-income students don’t apply to a single college or university that is an academic match. 
  • Only 8% of these low-income high-achievers apply to college in a strategic manner similar to their high-income peers. 
  • High-achieving, low-income students who fail to apply to top colleges live disproportionately in rural areas, towns, and small cities, not large metropolitan centers.
  • According to economists Caroline M. Hoxby of Stanford University, Sarah Turner of the University of Virginia, and Christopher Avery, Professor of Public Policy at Harvard, there are about 35,000 high-achieving, low-income students graduating each year. Learn more about the research in the New York Times here and at Brookings here

The Promise

  • Hoxby and Turner tested an intervention sent by mail of semi-personalized information on “fit” colleges has been shown to affect high-achieving, low-income high school students’ application, acceptance, and matriculation rates at selective institutions.
  • They demonstrated that low-income high-achievers participating in their “Expanding College Opportunities” intervention are 20% more likely to apply to “fit” colleges than their peers.
  • Evidence also shows that these students do better academically than they otherwise would at an open-access institution well below their abilities. They also carry less debt and have access to dramatically more career and leadership opportunities.
  • The effect of attending a leading college or university is significant. A student graduating from one of our most selective colleges earnings are about 25 percent higher than those who attend less selective colleges—helping to create pathways of success for his or her family.
  • Research shows that with the right approach and communication, we can begin to address this problem and provide students with the guidance and information they need.

How we do it

Our Program Model
We train talented college students at top institutions to connect remotely with high-achieving, low-income high school students, providing the information, guidance, and support that these high school students need to navigate the college process. 

  • College student Advising Fellows leverage the power of peer-to-peer interaction and social networks to fill the holes in how these students approach applying to college. Advising Fellows serve both as guides in the application process as well as models of matriculation, having successfully enrolled in top colleges themselves. 
  • Each Advising Fellow commits to working remotely with up to four high-achieving, low-income high school students through the college application and selection process. College students apply for and, if selected, then earn the opportunity to serve as Advising Fellows. Advising Fellows are trained and assessed on their ability to play this role effectively. 
  • Advising Fellows work with high school juniors and seniors from across the country – from Hawaii to West Virginia. Matriculate works with high school students who have an annual household family income under $80,000, a GPA of 3.5 or higher, and have scored in the 90th percentile on the PSAT, SAT or ACT. 
  • Personal interactions between high school students and college students serve as the catalyst to shatter low-income high-achievers’ college perception gap.

Learning & Evaluation
We are data-driven. We learn from our college student Advising Fellows, high school students, and partners in the field. By tracking the work our college student Advising Fellows and high school students do together we strengthen our model. We compare our results with the application behaviors documented in Hoxby and Turner’s research and in doing so contextualize and improve our impact.

Our History
Matriculate was established in the fall of 2014. In the spring of 2015, we launched a pilot by recruiting, selecting, and training 70 college student Advising Fellows from Columbia, Howard, Princeton, and Yale Universities. Advising Fellows began working with high-achieving, low-income high school students around the country, from places like Carson City, Nevada and Stillwater, Oklahoma. Today there are more than 200 Advising Fellows across seven partner colleges and universities.

Learn more about our leadership here.

Support Matriculate here.