About Academic Talent Search

Our Purpose:  To motivate, inform and assist low-income, first-generation college-bound students to access and succeed in college.

Recognizing that not every student begins their education with the same resources, Academic Talent Search (ATS) is dedicated to assisting students to achieve their academic best and to maximize their choices by exposing them to information they may not have otherwise encountered. We aim to provide our students with tools that will help them overcome barriers, which could prevent them from attending the university of their choice upon graduation from high school.

Academic Talent Search starts working with students in middle school to foster self-esteem, curiosity, and cooperative team-building. Sixth and seventh grade students are recruited from targeted schools in December and January of each year, and the application period typically closes by March 1st. Two-thirds of ATS students are income-eligible and come from families where neither parent has a bachelor's degree.
Once admitted to ATS, students participate in the program’s activities and services through high school graduation, adhering to behavioral guidelines and program expectations. By keeping up with a high standard of respect and accountability, our students will be better prepared to succeed in college.

Student Requirements

  • Maintain the following minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA): Pre-9th grade, 2.50; freshmen, 2.75; sophomores, 2.85; juniors and seniors, 3.00.
  • Enroll in the following A-G college preparatory high school classes: English, 4 years; Mathematics, 3+ years; Science with Lab, 2+ years; Foreign Language, 2+ years; Social Science, 2 years; Visual and Performing Arts, 1 year; College Prep elective, 1 year.
  • Attend a designated ATS Summer Session at SSU.
  • Participate in ATS workshops held at SSU and partner school sites.
  • Take appropriate college entrance exams in high school, including the PSAT/SAT and ACT.

Parent/Guardian Requirements

  • Review and sign student guidelines packet.
  • Attend parent conferences and workshops.

Academic Year Services

  • One-to-one advising with ATS Outreach Advisor. (High School)
  • Workshops on positive self-esteem and leadership development, team work, study habits, academic preparation and career education. (Middle School)
  • College visitations, tours and placement.
  • Social/cultural field trips.
  • SAT/ACT and Financial Aid Workshops.
  • Referrals and access to classroom-based or online tutoring.
  • Awards Ceremony where students' achievements are recognized.

Summer Session Services

  • Academic Readiness Camp (ARC), an intensive one-week summer program at SSU for 7th and 8th graders.  The aims of ARC are (1) to prepare students for academic success using social/emotional strategies in middle school;  (2) to develop students’ early awareness of college and financial aid opportunities; and (3) to introduce students to ATS program outreach staff and mentors and to the SSU campus.
  • A 2-day High School Transition Retreat (usually residential) for high school freshmen.
  • A one-week college placement seminar for high school seniors.
  • Field trips designed to expose students to a variety of career options, cultural and challenging learning opportunities and various university campuses.
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