What is
Summer Search?

Summer Search is a year-round program that offers mentoring, scholarships to summer experiences, and college advising to students beginning their sophomore year of high school. We partner with schools, community organizations, and families to work with students to strengthen the skills they need to thrive in school and in life. Often the first in their families to earn a college degree, our alumni lead the way and become socially-responsible community leaders.

Interested in applying or nominating a student?

We are looking for high school sophomores who are open to new experiences, including participating in summer programs, building a relationship with a mentor, and going to college. To be eligible for Summer Search during the 2017–18 school year, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a sophomore in high school.
  • Attend a partner high school or be affiliated with a partner community-based organization.
  • Qualify to receive free or reduced lunch according to federal guidelines, shown in the table below.
  • On their 9th grade transcript, candidate must have no more than two Fs as final grades in the following classes: English, Science, Math, Social Science, and Foreign language.
  • In addition, for NYC applicants only, students must be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident.


Contact your local Summer Search office to learn more and request an application:


In our program, the college completion rate jumps to 69%

While just 21% of their peers earn a college degree.

Our Impact:


of most recent graduating senior class matriculated to college


of our college students re-enrolled this past year


of most recent classes of college students earned a 4-year college degree within six years

Navigate through our interactive infographic below for more details about our approach:

Summer Search Approach

High School Sophomore

Paired with staff mentor

Year 1

First full scholarship to summer experience

Year 2

2nd full scholarship to summer experience

Year 3

College & financial aid advising

Years 4–9

College support & career exploration

College Graduate

Alumni network

Our Approach

Our Approach

Navigate through our interactive infographic for more details about our approach.

Our Approach

Our Approach

Navigate through our interactive infographic for more details about our approach.


High School Sophomore

Students are paired with a staff mentor for weekly, one-on-one mentoring conversations while they’re in high school. These conversations are spaces for students to prepare for the summer experiences, navigate the complex college processes, discuss their identities, and everything in between at school, at home, and in the community. Mentors partner with students as they make progress towards their goals, manage challenges, and celebrate successes.

1st Full Scholarship to Summer Experience

Year 1

Summer Search students are awarded an initial scholarship to participate in a summer experience after their sophomore year. During the first summer, students participate in a 2-3 week outdoor adventure in their home state or another state. Sailing, backpacking, rock climbing, and canoeing are some of the most common adventures that our students experience.

2nd Full Scholarship to Summer Experience

Year 2

Summer Search students are awarded a second scholarship to participate in a summer experience after their junior year. The second summer experience ranges from a second outdoor adventure, to college preparatory programs, to service learning in the United States and abroad. These experiences serve to strengthen the skills and mindsets students need for the journey to and through college.

College and Financial Aid Advising

Year 3

College advisors work individually with our students, most of whom are the first in their family to go to college. The advisors work through every step of the college and financial aid process, helping students make the best possible college match based on the student’s interests, academic achievements, scholarships, and financial aid packages.

College Support & Career Exploration

Years 4-9

We work most actively with students during their first two years of college. Throughout the college years, we provide college access (for transfers and new applicants) and success advising, financial aid counseling, and career exploration to ensure that our students remain on track to complete college.

Alumni Network

College Graduation

The Alumni Network provides alumni with opportunities to advance their career (and help others do the same), discover something new, support Summer Search through service and philanthropy, and catch up with Summer Searchers across the country and around the world.

Learn more: