Founded in 2009 on the firm belief that every high school student can earn a college degree, the Taleem Initiative is a community-based program, promoting higher education among first-generation students (students first in their families to attend college). Through participation in our high-impact mentoring programs, our students develop the skills, study habits, discipline, and attitude necessary to be successful in high school and beyond. 

Today’s economy and the economy of tomorrow demand a more educated workforce. For first-generation and high school students, a college degree can seem out of reach, because of:

Lack of Academic/College Guidance

Without direct access to college-going role models and mentors, first-generation students face the daunting task of navigating high school and preparing for college on their own! Just putting together the college application is a challenging process in and of itself for any student, but for first-generation students, the whole process seems even more insurmountable! Students lack the proper guidance to get through the process and carry misconceptions that hinder their own success. Furthermore, as college tuition continues to rise, first-generation and students are much more likely be discouraged about the value of earning a college degree. They simply do not understand their financial options (e.g., need-based financial aid) for graduating from college debt-free!

Lack of Access to Effective Standardized Test Preparation


Students cannot afford quality test preparation material and standardized test preparation programs. Consequently, they think of the SAT and the ACT as “big scary tests” that they simply cannot do well on! Some of these students are actually more inclined to consider community college solely because they do not have to take the SAT for admission into a community college.

Lack of Exposure to Careers Opportunities


Higher education is the surest and most realistic ticket into the middle class, and it also opens up a multitude of career opportunities. Unfortunately, first-generation students never reach this point of realization, primarily because they are never exposed to different career opportunities and therefore never aspire to go into professions that require a college education.