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Get a Jumpstart on College

Are you looking to understand how college works and how you can be supported? 

Consider applying to the Advancing Clark Excellence (ACE) Summer Institute, the University’s free, four-year support program specifically for incoming first-year students who identify as first-generation and/or students of color but open to all students. The program begins with a summer institute in August and will continue to provide you with resources throughout your college career. 

Take a .5-unit college math course and a .5-unit college writing course while participating in leadership and College 101 workshops to maximize your success. Explore the community, connect with Clark faculty and administrators, and build friendships.

Frequently Asked Questions

ACE participants can expect free room and board during the summer program. Students who plan to commute at the start of the academic year will also receive free room and board during the summer program until the Saturday before Orientation. From then on, students will need to commute accordingly. ACE participants will have access to breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, where reasonable accommodations can be made for students with specific dietary restrictions. Students who are accepted into ACE will be housed in the residential communities located in Bullock Hall and Hughes Hall

If you have any questions or concerns about other support services and accommodations at Clark, please contact the Office of Student Accessibility Services (SAS) via phone (1-508-798-4368) or email (

First-generation college students include any student who will be the first in their family to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Students are eligible even if they have siblings who have graduated from college.

There is also the notion of 1.5-generation college students, where the student is not necessarily the first in their family to go to college as described above, but typically navigates college like many other first-generation college students due to self-identifying as not having prior exposure to or knowledge of navigating higher institution. Examples include a student whose parents and/or guardians completed a bachelor’s degree outside of the U.S. or a student that has only had close contact with people of minimal college experience.

Students of color (African-, Latinx-, Asian-/Desi-American, Native/Indigenous- American, Middle-Eastern, Pacific Islander, and/or Multiracial) are encouraged to apply. They may be U.S. citizens, DACA recipients, permanent residents, non-resident aliens, international students, or undocumented students.

International students and/or non-resident aliens may participant in ACE, or the International Student Welcome sponsored by the Office of Global Engagement.

If you are unsure which program — ACE or International Student Welcome — is right for you, contact the Office of Global Engagement.

You will benefit from:

  • Coaching on strategies for academic, leadership, and professional success through College 101 and leadership workshops
  • Community-building with other first-generation students and students of color
  • Academic credit
  • A peer mentor who will share their knowledge to help you navigate their your first year at Clark
  • Writing support
  • Connecting with faculty and staff who identify as first-generation or people of color
  • Learning about identities and social justice
  • Building your leadership skills through interactive activities
  • Making friends and receiving continued support during the rest of your college career (monthly small group meetings and semester check-ins during the first year; ongoing opportunities for student engagement; workshops and meetings with the program director annually)

The Office of Identity, Student Engagement, and Access (ISEA) provides ongoing opportunities for student engagement as well as student success workshops on various topics, including internships and resume writing. You will be expected to attend to ensure that you are supported throughout your transition to Clark.

Sample Schedule

  • 8:00 a.m. — Breakfast
  • 8:30 a.m. — Writing Course
  • 10:00 a.m. — Break
  • 10:15 a.m. — Math Course
  • 11:45 a.m. — Break
  • Noon — Lunch
  • 1:00 p.m. — College Success Activity (Example: Panel with First-Generation Faculty and Staff, with breakout sessions)
  • 2:00 p.m. — Interactive Activity (Example: Virtual Scavenger Hunt)
  • 3:00 p.m. — Intro Sessions with Campus Partners (Example: Center for Counseling & Personal Growth, Career Connections Center, Student Accessibility Services, etc.)
  • 5:15 p.m. — Break
  • 5:30 p.m. — Dinner
  • 6:30 p.m. — Small Group Meeting with ACE Mentors
  • 8:00 p.m. — Study Hall

Have More Questions?

Contact the Office of Identity, Student Engagement, and Access (ISEA).

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