Building Skills for College Success

Increasingly, research suggests that a set of skills, beyond academic achievement, are necessary for success in college.  Boston’s college success and youth development communities are taking on this challenge together.

On April 1, more than 50 participants representing 30 college and youth development programs gathered at Boston University to define the skills necessary for success in college.  Using the Achieve, Connect, Thrive (ACT) skills framework, participants discussed ways to identify and improve skills such as critical thinking, communication, and perseverance in order to prepare students for the demands of college.  Bringing perspectives from their own programs, participants collaborated to devise ways to create the conditions for helping students build these skills.

An expert panel, featuring Dr. Charles Desmond, Chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, Elizabeth Pauley, Program Director of Education to Career at the Boston Foundation, and Marsha Inniss-Mitchell, Director of College Readiness Initiatives at the Boston Public Schools provided feedback on further developing the ideas presented.

Boston After School & Beyond, Success Boston, and the Boston Foundation hosted the event.  Dr. Hardin Coleman, Dean of the School of Education at Boston University and co-chair of the search committee for the next superintendent of the Boston Public Schools, emphasized the importance of social-emotional skills as an indicator of college success.

If you are part of a program what would like to get involved with this work, please contact Maura Boyce at

Board of Higher Education Chair Dr. Charles Desmond, Elizabeth Pauley of the Boston Foundation, and Marsha Innis Mitchell of the Boston Public Schools offer feedback on plans to build skills for college.