the University of Pennsylvania Rising Scholar Success Academy PennRSSA

About PennRSSA

The University of Pennsylvania Rising Scholar Success Academy (PennRSSA) is a series of free-of-cost, entirely virtual postsecondary access programs designed to prepare Philadelphia high school students for the pivotal next steps of educational and career pathways in a post-pandemic world.

Originally launched in July 2020 as the Rising Senior Summer Academy, a direct intervention to stem summer learning loss caused by the COVID-19 disruptions to education in the city, our goal remains the same—to advance the futures of Philadelphia students by:

  • increasing student access to high-quality learning experiences through engaging, radical pedagogy;
  • creating a supportive program environment which balances high expectations and academic rigor with trauma-informed practices for participant achievement;
  • providing engaged mentorship from undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, staff, and faculty in tailored 1:1 and interactive “pod” settings;
  • equipping students for postsecondary success by expanding their skills, knowledge, confidence, motivation, and preparedness to navigate the postsecondary application and enrollment processes.

There are no minimum GPA or other academic requirements to participate—PennRSSA programs are open to all Philadelphia-based students preparing to graduate from a School District of Philadelphia, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, or public charter school in the city of Philadelphia.