Our Students

DTS serves highly motivated, low-income,* first generation college-bound students from the greater Los Angeles area.  DTS doesn’t enroll only the top performing students; rather, we consider any underserved student who is interested in going to college, and enrolls and retains those willing to put in the work to get there.  DTS is an eight-year program spanning the summer before 9th grade through college graduation.  Students are recruited at the end of eighth grade and accepted based on a combination of recommendation(s), written application, and in-person meeting with a DTS staff member.

Our high school students attend one of three Los Angeles-area Title 1 high schools:  Alexander Hamilton High School, William and Carol Ouchi High School in South Los Angeles, or Manuel Dominguez High School in Compton.  Determined to Succeed is an approved Los Angeles Unified School District no-cost service provider.  Our college students attend colleges all across the country.

With a 9th grade class of approximately 15 students enrolling each year, no DTS student gets lost in the shuffle or left behind.  All DTS students receive deep, comprehensive support from the day they walk on campus for our summer Bridge to High School program to the day they toss their caps in the air at their college graduation.

*All DTS students must qualify for a government-funded free school lunch program.


When are students eligible to apply to DTS?

Students are eligible to apply to DTS in the spring of 8th grade, after students have selected to attend one of our three partner high schools.

What criteria does DTS consider in selecting students to join the program?

We consider students who have a strong desire to go to college and are willing to work hard to get to and through college.  DTS students must come from a low-income/historically disadvantaged background and be first generation college-bound.

What is the process for selection?

DTS consults with middle school counselors during the spring of 8th grade to identify potential applicants.  We also distribute informational literature to all middle school students who have selected to attend a DTS partner high school, so that interested students who have not been identified by a counselor or teacher have the opportunity to apply.  We then hold several informational sessions for parents and students to learn about the program, after which they are invited to apply.  Students must provide their full middle school transcript along with a completed application.  The student and parent(s) are then brought in for an interview.  Families are notified of their acceptance soon thereafter.

What happens after a student is accepted?

Following admission to the program, there is a family orientation during which parents and students complete necessary forms and officially onboard.  At that point, a new class is created, and each rising 9th grader becomes a member of a class named for their high school and graduation year.  Every class is assigned to an Advisor who will begin to foster a sense of community within the group right away.  The class Advisor is the DTS staff person who will oversee that group of students over the next four years of high school and into college.

How many students are in each class?

Approximately 15 students are in each class.  With small classes, no one falls through the cracks.

When does programming begin for a new class?

Rising 9th grade students participate in a month of summer activities prior to the start of the school year:  DTS Outdoors and the Bridge to High School program.  By the time school begins, DTS students are oriented to their new environment and have connected with older DTS high school and college students who serve as role models and helpers.

Over the summer, students have three one-on-one check-in meetings with DTS staff members.  They first meet with their Advisor, who reviews their planned schedule to make sure they are programmed into the correct classes.  Next, they meet with the Math and Science Specialist to create an individualized math plan.  Finally, they meet with the Wellness Counselor for their first of four regular wellness check-ins for the year.

What do students do during after-school study sessions?

Study sessions are primarily a time to work on homework and get help from the class Advisor, Math and Science Specialist and/or Wellness Counselor.  The class Advisor will check in with each student individually once a week.  Students also spend time connecting with one another through a pick-up sports game, session of council, discussion of a world event, or special project or workshop.  Students also have the opportunity to take leadership roles within their class and within DTS as a whole.