Applying to the College Prep Program


The College Prep Program is open to students who:

  • are currently in 9th grade and live in the St. Louis region,
  • will be first-generation college students,
  • have limited financial resources,
  • are invested in learning and exploring educational and enrichment topics, and
  • are able to attend CPP’s Summer Academy for three consecutive summers, as well as attend a minimum of four Academic Programming Events per year

College Prep Scholars attend Summer Academy for two weeks following their freshman year and for three weeks following their sophomore and junior years. A number of Academic Programming Events focused on college readiness are offered throughout the year and are typically held on Saturdays for 2-4 hours, dependent upon event topic.

STEP 1: Nomination

To begin the program application process, the potential student must first be nominated. After review of the nomination, application materials and next step communications are sent directly to the eligible students.

Nominations may be submitted on a student’s behalf by a teacher, counselor, faith or civic leader, community member, family member, or a current or alumni College Prep Program scholar.

Nominations for the College Prep Program for the class of 2026 are now closed. If you were not nominated but are interested in applying, please contact us at

STEP 2: Application Invitation

Once nominations are reviewed, an application invitation and next steps will be sent directly to students who are eligible. Students submit their application online, including basic information about the student/family, and short essay responses. An official copy of the student’s high school transcript and one (1) recommendation letter provided by a 7th, 8th, or 9th grade teacher/instructor must be provided on the student’s behalf.

Applications for the College Prep Program for the class of 2026 have been sent out. If you were not nominated or did not receive our email invitation to apply but are interested in applying, please contact us at

STEP 3: Recommendation Letter

A 7th, 8th, or 9th grade teacher or instructor must submit a recommendation letter on the applicant’s behalf. The teacher/instructor must have had, or currently have the student enrolled in their class or school-sponsored program. Examples of possible recommenders include a classroom teacher, counselor, principal, coach, afterschool program instructor, etc. Applicants are encouraged to request their letter of recommendation as soon as they receive the invitation to apply.

Recommenders are asked to evaluate the student with respect to their academic performance/potential, character, integrity, and behavior.

NOTE: Recommendation letters should be submitted only after College Prep has notified a student that they have been selected to move forward in the application process.

STEP 4: Official High School Transcript

An official copy of the applicant’s first semester high school transcript is required. Applicant families are directed to complete the form below and provide it to their high school guidance office.


STEP 5: Interview Invitation

After applications are reviewed, eligible students will be invited to the next round in the application process—to attend a virtual or in-person (COVID restrictions permitting) interview with College Prep Program staff. Students will be notified of a scheduled interview time block for one of multiple interview dates.

STEP 6: Enrollment Decisions

Application materials and interview notes will be considered in the Program’s enrollment decisions. Of the students interviewed, 50 will be selected to enroll in the College Prep Program’s incoming class. Students are notified by mid-March of the enrollment decisions.

CPP Scholars make a commitment to:

  • attend CPP’s Summer Academy for three consecutive summers,
  • attend a 1-on-1 meeting with our Program Coordinator each semester,
  • attend a minimum of four Academic Year Programming events per year, and
  • follow program rules and expectations, as outlined in the scholar’s enrollment packet