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College Possible

  • College Possible
  • 540 Fairview Avenue North
    Suite 304
  • Saint Paul, MN 55104

Program Description

College Possible is making college admission and success possible for low-income students through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support. Our services include:

  • Academic support through ACT and SAT test preparation
  • College application assistance
  • Financial aid consulting
  • Guidance in the college transition
  • Support toward college degree completion

College Possible currently has programming in the Twin Cities, Milwaukee, and Omaha. In 2011-12, we serve 1,900 students through our core high school program. Students currently in the program report an average family income of less than $25,000. The average GPA of our students is 3.0 and 91 percent are students of color. For the current seniors in our program, the average baseline ACT score as juniors (before receiving our services) was 15, which places the students in the bottom 10th - 15th percentile of all ACT test-takers.

College Possible recruits low-income students unlikely to obtain admission to a four-year college without our help. Eligibility requirements include a 2.0 GPA or higher, an interest in attending a four-year college and the ability to attend after-school sessions, as well as meeting income guidelines.

Success Stories

Originally from Nigeria, Samuel moved to Minnesota when he was 10. "My parents wanted me and my brother and sister to get an education in the Unites States," he said. "They said if you get a degree here, you can go anywhere in the whole world."

When he arrived, Sam's elementary school classmates had a hard time understanding his English, so he decided to listen instead of speak. He avidly watched children's programming like Arthur and Teletubbies and practiced English on his own. At the end of the school year, he spoke again. "I made three friends the last month of school," Sam said. "I learned by just listening."

In high school, Sam's friends encouraged him to join College Possible with them. "I'm glad I joined [College Possible] because it pushed me to apply for more scholarships and taught me more about college," he said.

In College Possible after-school sessions, he worked on applying for the Gates Millennium Scholarship, an award that covers all expenses for an undergraduate degree at the college or university of the recipients' choice, and even the cost of a doctorate degree in some fields of study. College Possible coach Ryan Rasmussen helped Sam set goals to complete sections of the 22-page application one at a time, including each of the eight essay questions. In April, a large envelope arrived at Sam's house. When he opened the letter, Sam was overwhelmed. "It said, 'Congratulations, Samuel,'" he recalls. "I said 'wow' for at least 30 minutes. Just 'wow' over and over. I showed my mom, and she was jumping up and down. It felt good." He was one of just 20 Minnesota high school seniors to receive the Gates Millennium Scholarship this year.

Sam attends North Dakota State University and intends to major in mechanical or electrical engineering or both. He wants to be a robotics engineer and plans to take advantage of the Gates Scholarship to go on to graduate school. "I was just counting the days until college."

Services Provided

  • Academic enrichment/tutoring/study skills
  • College admissions guidance and counseling
  • College fairs/campus visits
  • College transition and retention support
  • Community service/service hours
  • Financial aid advising/FAFSA completion
  • SAT/ACT and other test preparation


Race & Ethnicity

  • American Indian or Native Alaskan: 1%
  • White: 9%
  • Asian or Pacific Islander: 34%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 13%
  • Other: 9%
  • African American: 34%

Education Level and
Number of Students

  • High School: 1900
  • Middle School: 0
  • Elementary School: 0
  • Post-secondary: 3275
  • Non-traditional: 0


  • More than 75%

Colleges Attended
by Alumni

  • Alverno College
  • Augsburg University
  • Augustana College - Illinois
  • Beloit College
  • Bemidji State University
  • Carleton College
  • College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's Univ.
  • Edgewood College
  • Grinnell College
  • Gustavus Adolphus College
  • Hamline University
  • Iowa State University
  • Kalamazoo College
  • Lawrence University
  • Marquette University
  • Minnesota State University-Mankato
  • Mount Mary University
  • North Dakota State University-Main Campus
  • Ripon College
  • Smith College
  • St Catherine University
  • St Olaf College
  • St. Cloud State University
  • St. Norbert College
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of Minnesota Twin Cities
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison

Matriculation & Completion

  • 4-yr College Matriculation: 100%
  • 4-yr College Graduation: 57%