Our Program Model

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Frequent interactions with Kessler Scholars staff through one-on-one meetings and peer mentoring provide students with the support they need to thrive on campus.

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Students enter college with a built-in community of support of 15-20 students per cohort, who attend workshops and events together to build a sense of belonging.

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Programs leverage first-generation students’ talents and strengths to achieve their academic, professional, and personal goals and elevate their voices and experiences within the broader campus community.

What We Believe

The Kessler Scholars Collaborative is guided by the following core values:


Put First-Gen Students First

We are unapologetic about our commitment to first-generation students.


Seek True Collaboration

We believe in the power of working together and that every voice matters.


Promote Learning and Growth

We are committed to learning from each other and from our challenges and successes.


Foster Equity and Inclusion

We are committed to advancing more just and equitable college campuses where all students can thrive.

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What We Know

Decades of research have shown that all students are capable of college success if given the tools, resources, and knowledge needed. Students who are first in their family to attend college often arrive at school without a clear understanding of how institutions work and what is expected of them. Many are left to navigate the collegiate environment on their own and are in need of a network of support.

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What We Do

The Kessler Scholars Collaborative draws on evidence-based practices to build a comprehensive community of support for first-generation students that lets them explore their academic, professional, and personal goals.

Dedicated staff follow students from admission through graduation and beyond connecting them with the critical resources and opportunities while peer mentors provide additional support and community.

Students also take part in experiential learning opportunities such as study abroad programs or professional internships, help shape and guide Kessler Scholars Program offerings, and participate in community service initiatives.