Equity-focused higher-education admissions strategies to value students’ pre-college STEM program experiences

STEM PUSH and our higher-education admissions partners are reinventing the relationship between pre-college STEM programs and college admissions to improve college-going persistence in STEM for Black, Latina/o/e, and Indigenous youth

STEM PUSH is Recruiting Higher Education Partners

To better understand the current and potential role for pre-college STEM program experiences in students’ admissions process and undergraduate trajectory.
To incorporate STEM PUSH pre-college programs (and soon with accreditation) into their admission process
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to expand my support of increasing access to STEM beyond my institution through my involvement with STEM PUSH. Every meeting I am delighted by what I learn from equity-minded peers and am hopeful about STEM PUSH’s ability to make a significant impact on the STEM enrollments of students from racially minoritized backgrounds.”
Emily Roper-Doten
Vice President for Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Assistance, Clark University

Interested in Learning More?

STEM PUSH Pre-College STEM Programs Bring Quality

STEM PUSH Network programs are urban, out-of-school time programs that have an equity focus and are free for qualifying (or all) student participants and engage students in at least 120 hours of STEM experience. Many programs offer a stipend, recognizing that students are choosing this STEM experience over a job or other family responsibilities. 

Pre-college STEM Programs (PCSPs) have been shown to positively affect students’ analytical and critical thinking skills, STEM content knowledge and exposure, and self-efficacy through STEM-focused enrichment and research experiences. 

NEIU Students
Hillman Academy student

Additional research suggests that PCSP experiences are key influencers in students’ pursuit of STEM majors and careers.  

Given this, and the high enrollment of students from underrepresented groups in PCSPs, STEM PUSH is working to leverage PCSPs in admissions decisions to maximize college access and career outcomes.

Our goal is to have the value of these PCSPs elevated in Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) admissions considerations and decisions. 

To do this, we are pursuing the following efforts:

Working with our Admissions Advisory Council and 40+ pre-college STEM programs, we are aligning STEM program strengths and IHE admissions priorities including engaging with quality STEM content and skills, tracking program outcomes over time, and communicating programs’ equity-focused instructional strategies.  

STEM PUSH is fostering place-based connections between programs, STEM networks and Ecosystems, and nearby institutions of higher education

STEM PUSH is building partnerships with equity-focused admissions organizations to share resources and advocate for change

All STEM PUSH Network programs are aligning to our quality standards. These include a stated goal of broadening participation in STEM, recruiting underrepresented minoritized youth, engaging in quality STEM experiences through culturally sustaining pedagogies, proactively identifying and addressing youth’s barriers to success, demonstrating meaningful student growth, and supporting college-going pathways.

Built around these quality standards, STEM PUSH has partnered with Middle States Association to build a “next-generation accreditation system” that centers equity in broadening access and participation in STEM.

Recognize pre-college STEM programs as educational experiences in students’ college applications.

Track STEM PUSH pre-college STEM program students through their application process to better understand their admissions and persistence experience within a particular higher-ed institution.

Reinvent and research the role for pre-college STEM program experiences to be leveraged in equity-focused admissions strategies within the radically changing admissions landscape.

STEM PUSH is conducting the first-ever, large, cross-program, NSF-funded research study of the impact of pre-college STEM programs on student matriculation and persistence in STEM post-secondary education. Read more here.

Our goal is to study the effects of this work over time.

How Our Programs Are Impacting Students:

Join Us

Reach out to the STEM PUSH Network for more resources and information about how our work can support your college admissions.