College Possible

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College Possible
Founded 2000
Founder Jim McCorkell
  • Saint Paul, MN
Area served


Method Utilize AmeriCorps volunteers to provide low-income students with ACT preparation, admission and financial aid counseling, and guidance in the transition to and through college.
approximately 260 AmeriCorps members and 115 Leadership Team members

College Possible (formerly "Admission Possible") is a nonprofit AmeriCorps organization making college admission and success possible for low-income students in the United States through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support. Its model uses recent college graduates serving an AmeriCorps term of service as near-peer mentors for students lacking the social resources to successfully enroll in and graduate from college.[1] Headquartered in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the organization currently serves students in all 50 states with offices located in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area, Chicago, Milwaukee, Omaha, Portland, and Philadelphia.


College Possible was chartered as a nonprofit in September 2000, beginning operations in two Twin Cities public high schools the next spring. By the 2008-09 school year, the organization was serving students in seventeen high school schools across Minneapolis-Saint Paul and launched a second site in Milwaukee.[2] In the current 2016-17 school year, College Possible serves more than 20,000 students at hundreds of high schools, colleges and universities across the country. In the spring of 2015, College Possible launched a sixth site in Chicago, Illinois.


A New York Times article from November 2005 quotes CEO Jim McCorkell as saying: "My starting idea was what if we replicated Kaplan for poor kids."[3] To be eligible for College Possible's free services, students must come from low-income families and have a GPA of 2.0 or higher.[4] High school students accepted into the program participate in after-school sessions over their junior and senior years, with time divided between test preparation, college applications, financial aid applications and preparing to transition to college.[5] The program also has a service component, including an annual service event on Make a Difference Day.[6]

College students receive guidance in finding and accessing campus resources, renewing the FAFSA, locating internships, maintaining a healthy balance between homework and social obligations, as well as when transferring schools.[7]


College Possible is a 501(c)3 organization that has received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator for financial management and a three-star rating for accountability and transparency.[8]

A 2011 Harvard study determined that Admission Possible more than doubles the chances a low-income student will enroll in a four-year institution.[9] A later 2013 Harvard study found College Possible to have a significant positive impact on four-year college enrollment, though it had no statistically significant effect on ACT scores.[10]

Wilder Research, an arm of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, performed an evaluation of Admission Possible in 2006, substantiating its claim that 91% of the organization's students enrolled in college, and that it compared favorably to similar programs.[11]

The Charities Review Council deems that it "meets all standards".[12]


McCorkell was named an Ashoka Fellow, a recognition for social entrepreneurship, in 2006.[13] The organization has been recognized with awards from the Financial Times and Citi,[14] the National Association for College Admission Counseling,[15] College Board,[16] and the National College Access Network.[17]

In June 2009, President Barack Obama mentioned the organization in a speech on social entrepreneurship saying: "Admission Possible operates in just two states now. So imagine if it were 10 or 20 or 50."[18]

In February 2014, College Possible was invited to be part of a White House summit on college opportunity.[19]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Admission Possible history, accessed 10.28.10
  3. ^ Test Prep Help for Those Too Poor to Afford Kaplan, New York Times, November 16, 2005, accessed 10.28.10
  4. ^ A stairway to higher education, Star Tribune, Minneapolis, April 7, 2009, accessed 11.02.10
  5. ^ Admission Possible shows the way for college aspirants, Star Tribune, Minneapolis, May 24, 2010, accessed 11.02.10
  6. ^ Students scare up 10,000 pound donation for foodshelf,, Minneapolis, November 5, 2009, accessed 11.02.10
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Comparative Historical Analysis Admission Possible 2007-2009 Harvard Kennedy School June 2011"
  10. ^
  11. ^ Admission Possible evaluation results, Laura McLain (2006), Wilder Research
  12. ^ Admission Possible profile on Charities Review Council website
  13. ^ Jim McCorkell’s profile on the Ashoka website
  14. ^ Award announcement from the Financial Times
  15. ^ A list of Human Relations Award recipients on the NACAC website, retrieved 10.26.2010
  16. ^ 2010 Innovation Award Winners on the College Board website, retrieved 10.26.2010
  17. ^ NCAN Announces 2009 College Access Awards of Excellence, NCAN news release, 09.30.2010
  18. ^ AmeriCorps and a Nod from Obama Give College-Access Group a Lift, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, October 15, 2009, accessed 11.02.10
  19. ^

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