Grad Prep Academy

Preparing Black Male Undergraduates for Doctoral Study in the Field of Education

We invite talented Black male college students who are presently in their junior year to apply for participation in our Grad Prep Academy, a project that prepares scholars for graduate study and research-related careers in the field of education. The project is also a longitudinal research study that enables us to analyze Black men’s pathways from undergraduate study through graduate degree programs and eventually into their careers.

This project includes a four-day visit to the University of Pennsylvania. We will select 10 Black male juniors and cover all their travel expenses, lodging, and meals. During their visit to our campus in Spring 2013, the selected scholars will learn more about applying to and succeeding in graduate school; meet our faculty and hear about their research projects; interact with our Black male graduate students and alumni; and tour Philadelphia. We will also pay for Academy participants to take a four-week Kaplan course valued at $1,200 to prepare for the Graduate Record Exam (the GRE is required for admission to most education graduate programs). Additionally, each Academy participant will be paired with a current Black male Ph.D. student in education who will offer mentoring throughout the graduate school application process, feedback on essays and other application materials, and advice on where else to apply besides Penn GSE. Click here to download a recent report about the Penn GSE Grad Prep Academy [PDF]

Academy participation in no way guarantees eventual admission to the University of Pennsylvania. If not at Penn GSE, our larger aim is for all 10 scholars to enroll in highly selective graduate programs in education at top research universities in Fall 2014. We will study their educational trajectories beyond the baccalaureate, with a particular emphasis on examining how participation in our initiative influences their readiness for and success in graduate school.

Click here to download the first research study based on data from our Grad Prep Academy [PDF]

Participation in this project is limited to Black male juniors – those who will start their junior year of college in Fall 2012 and anticipate earning bachelor’s degrees at the end of Spring 2014. Applications are invited from college juniors across all majors, not just education. However, only those who have intellectual interests that are somehow related to education should apply. This includes the study of teaching and learning, human development, educational psychology and counseling, history of education, K-12 or higher education leadership, sociology or philosophy of education, language and literacy, educational disparities that disadvantage certain populations, education finance, research methodologies applied to education, student affairs and college student development, and K-12 or higher education policy. 

All application materials must be submitted electronically (using the form below) no later than 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Monday, November 5, 2012. Please direct all questions to


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