Countdown to College

Countdown to College (C2C)

The first graduating class of Saint Mary’s Countdown to College (C2C) four-year academic boot camp reflects on their learning and readiness for college.

Countdown to College (C2C) is an innovative college preparatory program for low income high school students of color that provides four years of summer academic boot camps and school-year follow-up.

Each summer, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota accepts 24 rising 9th graders from 14 partner Catholic schools in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Arizona, and Montana. Now in its fifth year, C2C provides intensive academic and social preparation for college to over 100 African American, Latino, and Native American high school students. Many aspects of Countdown to College (C2C) are unique, and distinct from other college preparatory programs:

    • Four consecutive summers of intensive academic boot camps
    • Parents accompany their children the first weekend of Year 1, and return for C2C graduation Year 4
    • Small classes team taught by Saint Mary’s instructors and teachers from students’ home school
    • Curriculum based on backward design: What do students need to know and be able to do to be successful in college freshman classes?
    • Full time Coordinator who follows the students during the school years, meeting with them, parents, and counselors to ensure academic success
    • College credit for a science immersion course on watershed management in rural and urban settings (Year 3 and 4)
    • College-level reading, writing, and statistics courses (Year 3 and 4)
    • Nightly workshops and academic lectures aimed at orienting students to negotiating college application and success

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota founded the Countdown to College program with two major goals in mind:

  1. Prepare low-income, first-generation students of color for success in college
  2. Prepare college instructors to meet the learning styles and needs of students who are linguistically and culturally different from their own experiential and teaching background