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Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County - TOPS College Success Program

  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County - TOPS College Success Program
  • 5936 Seminole Centre Ct.
    Suite 201
  • Fitchburg, WI 53711
  • (608) 661-4762
  • 2013
  • Glenna Scholle-Malone
  • AVP, College Persistence and Special Projects

Program Description

The TOPS College Success Program (TCSP) of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County is a continuation program of the AVID/TOPS high school program in partnership with the Madison Metropolitan School District. Founded in 2013, the TCSP was implemented in response to the growing number, as well as the growing needs, of our TOPS scholars post high school completion. Through the TCSP, TOPS scholars are matched with one of our Coaches, and are supported through college enrollment, persistence, retention, and ultimately completion. Our coaches also support students with academics , financial aid and scholarships, financial literacy, career readiness and exploration, and leadership and personal development. We support ALL of our TOPS scholars whether they enroll on-time after high school graduation, or not.

Our coaches understand that each of our students are unique and will have individualized paths to their success; and our coaching model reflects that. Each of our coaches are assigned a caseload of around 150 students that they track post high school graduation. The level and type of support provided by our coaches is informed by the needs of our TOPS scholars. Using a stop-light system, coaches are able to track and support students based on their level of need. With the support of the National Student Clearinghouse, FERPA release forms, and institutional partnerships, our coaches are able to track our scholars enrollment status by institution, credits earned, GPA, transfers, anticipated majors, anticipated graduation dates and transcripts. Additionally, we have enhanced our coaching model to begin including scholars participation in high impact practices (study abroad, research, internships, etc.) as well as their involvement on campus.

Additionally, our coaches categorize their caseloads by enrollment status, which informs their timing of communication and resources and opportunities shared. For instance, if student never enroll, or if students withdrawal for any reason, our coaches are there to support. Ensuring that students take the proper steps should they need to withdrawal, or take time off for any reason, we offer that support to assist them in navigating that process. Furthermore, when students are ready to enroll, or re-enroll, coaches will offer support with that as well.

One of our major top priorities as a program moving forward is to increase our number of formalized college partnerships. We are currently in year three of our formalized partnership with Madison College, which is our top feeder school. This individual formalized partnership allows for our College Coaches to have 0% staff appointment at the college. This appointment provides access to academic records, early alerts, and any other pertinent institutional information that can help inform coaches support for their scholars. In addition, coaches have designated physical space on campus to meet with students, stipends for upper-class peer mentors, financial support, collaboration with programming, events and workshops, designated academic advisors, and early registration. **We are in the final stages of finalizing MOU's for formalized partnerships with the University of Wisconsin Madison as well as Edgewood College for implementation in Fall of 2019.

Our Program Impact:

  • 868 Current high school students served
  • 90% Students of color, low-income and/or first generation
  • 2.92 Average H.S. GPA
  • 95% Average H.S. graduation rate
  • 87% Eligible FAFSA completion
  • 496 Students currently enrolled in college
  • 87.2% Average on-time college enrollment
  • 84% Average 1 to 2 year persistence
  • 98 Degrees earned
  • 45% 6-year completion rate for the class of 2013 (**This is anticipated to reach 55% with projected Spring 2019 graduates).
    • Services Provided

      • Academic enrichment/tutoring/study skills
      • Career exploration and counseling/internships
      • College admissions guidance and counseling
      • College fairs/campus visits
      • College transition and retention support
      • Community service/service hours
      • Financial aid advising/FAFSA completion
      • Leadership development
      • Mentoring
      • SAT/ACT and other test preparation
      • Scholarships and last-dollar grants


Race & Ethnicity

  • White: 15%
  • Asian or Pacific Islander: 9%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 31%
  • African American: 27%

Education Level and
Number of Students

  • High School: 868
  • Middle School: 0
  • Elementary School: 0
  • Post-secondary: 831
  • Non-traditional: 0

Populations Served

  • Academically At-risk
  • Academically High-performing
  • ESL Students


  • More than 75%

Colleges Attended
by Alumni

  • Edgewood College (35)
  • Madison Area Technical College (210)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (72)
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (34)
  • University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (12)
  • University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (19)
  • University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (21)

Matriculation & Completion

  • 4-yr College Matriculation: 87%