Programs that Promote Persistence
In addition to providing scholarships, DMSF offers a number of valuable programs which help our Scholars persist toward high school graduation and gain admission to colleges at which they can succeed. Our programs begin before our Scholars enter high school and last until they graduate.
Freshmen Summer Bridge:
In order to prepare newly-admitted DMSF Scholars for the upcoming college preparatory environment of our partner schools, each incoming freshman must attend two week-long workshops during the summer before they enter high school. The first workshop, which is presented by a group of professional speech pathologists, teaches Scholars how to use the academic and business language that is expected of them in high school. The second workshop helps students prepare to be an “Ideal Student” and covers such topics as time management, organization skills and note-taking. Together, these workshops provide transitional support to link our Scholars’ middle school experiences to those they will encounter at a college preparatory high school.
Mentoring and Affinity Groups:
For many of our Scholars the high school experience requires emotional, academic, and social adjustments. To help ensure their success, DMSF matches Scholars who request a mentor with a caring adult who serves as a confidant and advisor. Mentors and Scholars communicate regularly and meet independently at least once each quarter. DMSF hosts a number of organized social and cultural events to facilitate mentor-mentee engagement.
Some DMSF Scholars participate in a group mentoring program which we refer to as Affinity Groups. Qualified and relatable DMSF alumni serve as Affinity Group facilitators for groups of between 10 and 15 Scholars. The Affinity Groups met every other weekend during the school year, and offer a fun, safe space for sharing with peers who share similar backgrounds and experiences.
DMSF requires that all Scholars maintain a GPA of 3.0. To help make sure that our Scholars meet this obligation, DMSF makes professional tutoring available to them in a variety of locations most convenient for the Scholar. In addition, a dedicated tutoring center exists at the DMSF offices and is open two afternoons a week.
Widely-recognized research on the “Summer Slide” demonstrates that students of all age groups who are unengaged and unproductive during the summer months lose some of the academic gains earned during the previous school year. To combat this learning loss phenomenon and capitalize on opportunities for Scholar growth, DMSF organizes a number of summer opportunities including internships, service projects, study abroad experiences, and sports programs.
The hallmark summer opportunity that DMSF offers its Scholars is our Caddie Program. This competitive program provides immediate and long-term benefits for DMSF Scholars—immediately, Scholars earn spending money and gain job experience while caddying at local country clubs for the summer. Caddies live in college dormitories for the duration of the program and experience independence away from home. Caddying, in addition to maintaining good grades, also makes Scholars eligible to apply for the Chick Evans Scholarship, a four-year, full tuition college scholarship awarded by the Western Golf Association. To date, over 200 DMSF Scholars have been awarded the Evans Scholarship.
Many DMSF Scholars will be the first generation in their families to attend college. To help both Scholars and their parents, DMSF has implemented a four-year college counseling curriculum. We take Scholars and parents on college tours beginning their freshman year of high school, and we host seminars to discuss the different types of colleges and universities as well as the many kinds of applications and financial aid packages. Beginning junior year we help our Scholars prepare for standardized tests like the ACT and SAT, we help them develop the list of colleges to which they will apply, and we help them find scholarships for which they are eligible. DMSF has a full-time college counselor on its staff to facilitate this work.