J.B. Schramm

Ashoka Fellow
Washington, United States
Fellow Since 2000
My work: shifting the focus from high school graduation rates to college success

Check out this video of J.B. Schramm's work:

Related TopicsChildren & Youth, Education / Learning


This profile was prepared when J.B. Schramm was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2000.
The New Idea
Operating from outside the educational system, J.B. has identified a fundamental disconnect that prevents thousands of high-potential students from attending college and has designed a program that motivates all the actors within this system (students, high schools, colleges, and communities) to correct it. His training programs are designed for high school students who possess the talent to succeed in college, but lack the support to maneuver through the application process to present their strengths effectively.

High-potential, but mid-tier students—that is, students with Bs and Cs and mediocre SAT scores—from low-income backgrounds were not going to college, even though similar students from middle-class backgrounds were. Although colleges were interested in this group, they do not have the resources to look beyond traditional measures of success.

J.B. founded College Summit on two premises: 1) to present their true strengths to colleges, students need a highly creative, efficient setting wherein they can articulate who they are and where they are going; and a knowledgeable adult—such as a college-educated parent—to keep them on track; and 2) to review, recruit, and retain low-income students, colleges need useful, comprehensive student information early in the process.

For students, College Summit organizes intensive, four-day, on-campus workshops during which low-income high school seniors complete their college applications—essays, peer-supported work on emotional hurdles, college counseling, common applications, and financial aid forms. For high schools and colleges, College Summit helps make moderate adjustments to great cumulative effect. In schools, the organization trains homeroom teachers to be College Mentors, keeping their seniors on track throughout the application process. For colleges, it screens student participants against the host campuses' admissions criteria, and delivers appropriate Preview Portfolios months before application deadlines. This service makes it economically feasible for colleges to evaluate students, not just scores. College Summit aligns the incentives for all concerned: students attend college, high schools improve college acceptance rates, colleges receive good applications from a group of students they want to admit, and communities build a more educated workforce.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person


Featured in How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, by David Bornstein (2007, updated edition)

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