The Emerging Scholars Program

Since 2002, the Emerging Scholars Program at Clemson University has helped students from low-income areas of South Carolina move forward to a brighter future after graduating from high school. In this special edition of Solutions to the Dropout Crisis, Emerging Scholars Program Director Amber Lange, and Assistant Director Jason Combs, will discuss the importance of this successful dropout prevention initiative. Through the program, high school students are mentored over a period of three years to prepare them for success in reaching their goal of higher education. This is accomplished by reinforcing academic preparation, building leadership skills, and advising students on the college application process.

The Emerging Scholars program provides participants—many of whom will be first-generation college students—with classroom success skills, the experience of living on a college campus, and the opportunity to visit over 12 colleges around the state. The program accepts 50-60 students annually, at no cost to them. Since its inception, more than 400 students have become “emerging scholars,” with 100% graduating from high school, and 90% going on to college or into the military within a year of graduation.


The National College Access Network is dedicated to increasing college access so that all students, especially those underrepresented in postsecondary education, can achieve their educational goals.

Founded in 1937, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, with 15,000 professionals from around the world, is dedicated to serving students as they make choices about pursuing postsecondary education.

The College Board, established in 1900, was created to expand access to higher education. Today, with more than 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions as members, the College Board is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education.

ACT is a leader in research and assessments for college and career readiness.

Khan Academy specializes in personalized learning resources that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom.

The Emerging Scholars Program at Clemson University is designed to establish a college-going culture among students in families from South Carolina’s economically disadvantaged areas through academic enrichment, leadership skills development, and college preparedness.


The Positive Effects of Mentoring

Mentoring is one of the most effective and certainly the most economical dropout prevention strategies. But in order to have positive effects, mentoring needs to incorporate the right elements, i.e., The Elements of Effective Practice.

Kate Schineller will present a full program about mentoring, including who needs mentors; what the research says; and program design and planning. She will then introduce listeners to a successful mentoring program for children of prisoners, the Caregiver’s Choice Project, a demonstration project of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and by her organization, MENTOR.


Presentation Slides  pdf

Family and Corrections Network. (2009).

How to Build a Successful Mentoring Program pdf.

Mentoring Children of Prisoners. (2009).

National Mentoring Month. (2002).National Mentoring Month – Public Service Announcements. (2009).

National Mentoring Partnership(2010).

Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory’s National Mentoring Center(2010).

Karcher, M., & Herrera, C. (2007).  School Based Mentoring pdfResearch in Action. Alexandria, VA : MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership.

Smink, J. (1999).  A Training Guide for MentorsClemson, SC : National Dropout Prevention Center.

Lessons From the IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program

All children are valuable; none is expendable. But the fact is U.S. high schools lose more than one third of their students before graduation, and the cumulative impact of this attrition affects every person. But, schools can increase their “holding power” by transforming how they recognize students’ inherent value, their contributions, and their potential significance to their communities and society, as a whole.

Dr. Linda Cantu, an IDRA education associate and director of the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program, will give an overview of this research-based, internationally-recognized dropout prevention program that is keeping more than 98 percent of participating students in school, young people who were previously at risk of dropping out. She will also present seven key lessons from 26 years of the program that can inform efforts to improve the quality of education for all students.


Presentation Slides pdf.

“It Made Me Want to Do Better in School” – Former Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program Tutor Shares His Experience(2005).

25 Years of Effective Dropout Prevention – Five Primary Reasons for the Success of the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program(2009).

Coca-Cola Valued Youth College Tours – On the Road to College Success(2006).

Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program – Strengthening Student Connections with School(2006).

Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program 2010 Essay Contest Winner – Kwame’ Weatherall(2010).

Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program web site.

Continuities – Lessons for the Future of Education from the IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program(2009).

Montecel, M. R. (2009).  Continuities: Lessons for the Future of Education from the IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program pdfSan Antonio, TX : Intercultural Development Research Association.

Five Supporting Reasons for the Success of the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program in Dropout Prevention(2009).

Montecel, M. R. (2008).  Valuing Brazilian Youth: IDRA’s Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program in Latin AmericaThe International Journal on School Disaffection pdf


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