Changing the College-Going Culture in Low-Income Schools

College Summit crossed paths with Fossil at exactly the right time.

For 20 years, we have been delivering a high-impact program around the country to get low-income high school students into and through college. The program includes a customized curriculum for each high school grade, training for teachers, and workshops for students who become empowered to create a college-going culture for their classmates. Together, these elements have produced consistent increases up to 20 percent over baseline in college enrollment for College Summit partner schools.

creating opportunities

A changing education marketplace and shrinking budgets have made it difficult for many at-risk schools to afford the critical help of groups like College Summit, even with philanthropy to offset costs. The question we needed to answer was, “How can College Summit provide a streamlined, less-expensive service, yet continue to deliver high impact?” Thankfully, Fossil helped us explore our options.

With funding from the Fossil Foundation, College Summit designed and field-tested a program that stripped away the traditional curriculum and teacher training components of the organization’s more comprehensive program. In sync with the Foundation’s emphasis on “youth-driven-change,” the pilot program spotlighted the students – called College Summit Peer Leaders – and their grassroots work guiding their classmates to enroll in college.

a dynamic collaboration

In addition to a tremendously well-timed financial investment, which will help shape the future direction of the non-profit, College Summit is benefitting from the hands-on engagement of Fossil employees.  College Summit Peer Leaders are entrusted with the potentially life-changing mission of getting their classmates into college.  How they’re viewed in their schools and communities – their personal and collective brand – really matters. Fossil brand and marketing experts are exploring ways to improve Peer Leader awareness, influence and, ultimately, effectiveness.  Input from current College Summit students is helping inform the creative process.  As our students shoulder an even greater responsibility for the success of College Summit’s program, Fossil’s deliverables – a strong physical and online brand identity of the student corps, including name, tagline, colors, logo, apparel and accessories – are highly valued.

College Summit prides itself on transforming the lives of youth – and Fossil can pride itself in transforming College Summit.


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