LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A nationwide program has partnered with top-rated universities to help students achieve collegiate success through social enhancement.

The Posse Foundation, a non-profit organization that links students together for academic success in college, opened their Los Angeles office in 2002. Since then, the program has pursued the goal of looking for student-leaders in high school, and helping them through college to ultimately become leaders in the work force.

This is done through linking certain students together that The Posse Foundation believes will lead to the mutual benefit of academic success, and helping them, in groups of ten, to attain competitive scholarships.

“We send students to full tuition scholarships in groups of ten,” Director of the Posse Foundation In Downtown Los Angeles Tamara Craver said. “They are their own traveling support group system. We have a 90 percent graduation rate because they support each other when they go off to college together.”

Craver suggests the grouping of each group of ten students going into college ultimately leads to a greater support system, which greatly translates into academic achievement.

“The organization started because one student said they would never drop out of college if they had ‘my posse with me’,” Craver suggested. “If you send a group of students in a group of ten, they have their own support system and the likelihood they would abandon their group becomes less.”

The program, which has been around for 25 years, is competitive, and the Los Angeles branch received 2,100 nominations for 110 available spots.

Requirements to be considered into the program includes a three-round interview process over three months.

“We put these students into very interactive activities because we want to see who they are naturally,” Craver said. “Who rises up to the top as a leader.”

According to Craver, as well as participants in the program, the selection process is not based on socioeconomic background.

“Primarily, we do all of our outreach in LA Unified School district, and some of the smaller districts in LA County,” Craver said. “But if a student hears about us in a different area from a community-based organization, they can also be nominated from our program. We have kids coming in from Coachella, from Corona.”

“It’s not necessarily where we came from,” participant and Pepperdine University student Demisse Selassie said. “It’s more that we have a support group when we go there. Currently I serve as the student body president at Pepperdine University, and my posse I am forever indebted to.”

Anyone with interest in The Posse Foundation can learn more at the program’s website.

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