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Advancing Clark Excellence

A pre-orientation program for first-generation college students* and students of color

August 4 – 21, 2019

The ACE Summer Institute is the University’s free, three week pre-orientation program for students who identify as first-generation (those who are the first in their family to pursue a 4-year degree) or students of color (African-, Latinx-, Asian-/Desi-American, Native/Indigenous- American, Middle-eastern, Pacific Islander, and/or Multiracial). Being part of ACE means working hard as part of a supportive, diverse community, but also having some fun! During the three weeks before Orientation @ Clark, this living and learning community will support you in your transition from high school to college. By participating in ACE, you will:

  • Earn college credit by completing one college writing and one math course
  • Be matched with a peer mentor who will share their knowledge to help you navigate your first year at Clark
  • Receive coaching around strategies for academic, leadership, and professional success through College 101 and leadership workshops
  • Learn about key resources and meet members of the Clark community who will enable you to be academically and socially successful at Clark
  • Explore identity through a two-part Social Justice Retreat
  • Explore Worcester through weekend field trips and excursions
  • Make friends, and receive continued support during the rest of your college career (monthly small group meetings and semester check-ins during your first year; ongoing opportunities for student engagement;  attend workshops and meet with the program director annually)
  • Have fun!

This free, 17-day program includes room and meals, field trips, and all course materials. If you need to work and are concerned about finances, please contact us for information on possible scholarship opportunities to allow you to participate in the program. Approximately 25 students are selected to participate, so apply early! Applications should be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, May 27, 2019.


*First generation college students includes any student who will be the first in their family to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

**U.S. citizens, DACA recipients, permanent residents and undocumented students are encouraged to apply. We urge international students to participate in the International Student Orientation, sponsored by the Office of International Students and Scholars. If you are unsure which is right for you, feel free to contact Patty Doherty.

Sample Schedule

  • 8:30 a.m. STEM students: College Writing
    Other Majors: Quantitative Math
  • 10:45 a.m. STEM students: Pre-Calculus
    Other Majors: College Writing
  • Noon: Lunch
  • 1 p.m. College 101: Financial Literacy
  • 2:30 p.m. Break
  • 3 p.m. Leadership: The Marshmallow Challenge
  • 4:15 p.m. Team-building on the Green
  • 5 p.m. Dinner
  • 6 p.m. Check-in/small group meeting
  • 7 p.m. Homework/study hall/tutoring
  • 9 p.m. Fashion Show

Student Perspectives

View a short video on what our students think about our ACE Program.