Success is about more than getting to college – and College for Every Student is changing its name to CFES Brilliant Pathways to reflect that.
“Our goal is to help students forge their own route to success not just in college, but career and beyond,” said Rick Dalton, the president and CEO of the Essex, N.Y.-based non-profit organization. “Guiding students on a pathway to lifelong accomplishment is a critical part of what we’ve become, and our new name highlights that.”
The group has worked with more than 100,000 students since launching in 1991. This year, CFES Brilliant Pathways is working with 25,000 students in 150 urban and rural schools in 30 states and Ireland.
While the group’s name is changing, Dalton said CFES Brilliant Pathways will continue to emphasize the importance of a college education – whether it is attained at a traditional bachelor’s degree-granting institution, online, at a community college, or elsewhere. But helping students understand what they want to accomplish in their lives and a vision of how they can make those goals come true is also a large part of the group’s work. Through partnerships with schools, colleges and businesses, CFES Brilliant Pathways uses a three-pronged approach to empowering students to set their own paths:
- Essential Skills – CFES works with educators to reinforce these six competencies – goal setting, teamwork, leadership, agility, perseverance and networking – that successful individuals routinely draw on.
- Pathways to College and Career – CFES professionals, teachers, mentors and others help students identify potential careers and colleges and the steps necessary to achieve their targets.
- Mentoring – Each CFES Scholar works with a mentor, who can provide advice and an example to follow.
“The research is clear: Students who attain a college degree give themselves the best chance to break the poverty cycle,” Dalton said. “But we recognized years ago that simply going to college isn’t enough. Our name distracted some from the work we do every day to equip students with skills for college and career readiness, and the vision to implement their goals.”
CFES Brilliant Pathways works primarily in low-income communities where the route to college can be difficult to find. Figures indicate that students in the top economic quartile are eight times likelier to attend college than students in the bottom quartile.
Leveling the playing field is good for those students, and society itself, Dalton says. Millions of new jobs are being created in the U.S. that require college degrees, but not enough college graduates are being minted to take them.
By partnering with schools in underserved communities, CFES Brilliant Pathways provides needed resources to help educators do their best work, including professional development; ongoing support and evaluation, both on- and off-site; planning and training workshops; and more.
The group’s track record is clear: 95 percent of the high school seniors who worked with the group last year went on to attend college.
“We’ve always been about encouraging students to achieve bigger dreams than they may have thought possible,” Dalton said. “That’s what CFES Brilliant Pathways means: Giving students a future they can charge into with purpose rather than waiting for purpose to find them.”