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Ignite change in first-generation students.
Unleash the Power of Peers

The solution to opening doors to higher education
is already in every high school in America…

Influential Students.

Our Nationwide Network Drives School Outcomes

PeerForward, formerly known as College Summit, has been the nonprofit leader in leveraging peer influence for more than two decades, working in school districts across the nation.

District of Columbia Public Schools
Prince George’s County Public Schools (MD)
New York City Dept. of Education
Los Angeles Unified School District
Oakland Unified School District
Philadelphia School District
Broward County Public Schools (FL)
Miami-Dade County Public Schools

Peer Power Works!

20+ Years and More Than 350,000 Served 

PeerForward began more than 20 years ago as College Summit, pioneering a peer-to-peer approach to higher education attainment. We’ve learned how to activate youth to effectively leverage the influence students have on one another to increase college-going. Since our beginning as College Summit to our work as PeerForward today, we’ve guided more than 350,000 students from low-income high schools on the path to higher education.

 PeerForward Measures What’s Meaningful

We measure leading indicators to eventual postsecondary enrollment and success, including the percentage of students applying for financial aid. In 2016-17, University of Pittsburgh researchers found PeerForward schools had a 26% higher rate of financial aid completion than similar schools, unlocking $13M in additional aid. Similar results were produced in 2017-18, and historically our students have stayed in college at the same rate as students from all economic backgrounds.

PeerForward  unleashes the power of the most influential high school students in low-income districts across the U.S. to boost schoolwide college preparation and enrollment.

The best predictor of 4-year college enrollment for low-income minority students is whether they have friends who plan on going, according to independent research.

Higher Education is Life-Changing, 

But Low-Income Students Are Left Behind


Better Wages, More Jobs

By 2020, 65% of all jobs will require higher education; projections show an 11M shortage in qualified workers over the next decade. Those with a college degree earn $1M+ more over a lifetime than those with only a high school diploma.


Left Behind

Only 11% of low-income students complete college by age 24, even though 95% of low-income middle school students say they want to go to college. The unemployment rate for those with only a high school diploma is routinely double the rate of those with a college degree.

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Startling Ratios

The average student-to-counselor ratio in American high schools is 464:1; far more than the recommended 250:1. In many urban schools, the ratio is as high as 1000:1, making it difficult to ensure every student leaves high school with a postsecondary plan.

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38 Mins

Scant Planning Advice

Making a postsecondary plan and navigating the admissions process is difficult for everyone, especially for those first in their family to go to college. High school students get an average of only 38 minutes of 1:1 college counseling, far inadequate for meeting the need.

Guided by a design team of student activators, PeerForward has hosted more than 200 of the nation’s most influential education, nonprofit, and youth leaders at summits and workshops to lead the Youth Activation movement and create a better future for us all.

The Movement

PeerForward’s New Podcast: “The Perfect Play”

PeerForward is excited to introduce our new podcast, “The Perfect Play,” where we share what students can do to make their next move, their best move! Led by our incredible PeerForward Coaches, each episode takes listeners through uplifting and insightful discussions on navigating college, careers,... Read More

The New York Times features PeerForward

  PeerForward is excited to be featured in David Bornstein’s recent New York Times article, “The Power of Student Peer Leaders.” As part of the NYT column “Fixes,” the article highlights our peer-to-peer method as a unique and effective solution for closing the gaps of postsecondary achievement for... Read More

You Can Help Us Reach Our Goal

PeerForward trains teams of students who, in turn, coach and inspire even more students to pursue education after high school. Our program is affordable and set to rapidly expand to more schools across the nation, directing thousands more students on the path to opportunity.

You can help. Invest in PeerForward!

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