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Our mission

We believe
A high-quality education is transformative
The Schuler Scholar Program equips high-achieving and underrepresented students to gain access to and succeed at highly selective colleges and beyond. Schuler Scholars are typically first-generation college-bound, are students of color, or come from low-income families. To date, Schuler has helped more than 1,600 first-generation students, students of color, and low-income students in Chicago and Milwaukee on their path to college and beyond.
Shape everything we do every day

These core set of four values have guided our work from the beginning. We use them as a compass to inform our organizational practices and how we work with our Scholars, our school partners and our communities. At the heart of our values are our Scholars. They are foremost in our minds when we do our everyday work.

  • We believe in lifelong learning - personal improvement never ends
  • We work in the challenge zone, measuring ourselves against what's possible, not probable
  • We value process as well as outcomes, emphasizing effort, intent, and approach along with results
  • We believe shared success drives superior results for all our stakeholders - Scholars, families, partners and staff
  • We solicit and provide ideas to improve outcomes, regardless of role, responsibility or relationship
  • We collectively celebrate our successes with a family spirit, learn from our mistakes, and enjoy the journey together
  • We believe in the boundless promise of every Scholar
  • We consider each Scholar's unique strengths and challenges in our work
  • We commit to each Scholar's long-term academic, professional and personal growth
  • We believe in pursuing new and imaginative solutions to benefit our Scholars
  • We experiment with alternative solutions, and constantly seek answers to ambiguous challenges
  • We own our solutions and validate our results
Enduring prosperity

Our vision is to create enduring socio-economic prosperity for first-generation students, students of color, low-income students and their families. Through a transformative educational experience, motivated students will become the leaders of the future who change the quality of life for their communities. To reach more students and to improve every Scholar’s chance at succeeding in a top college, we continue to partner with new schools and expand our services for Scholars and their families.

How we work

Schuler partners with Scholars and their families to help Scholars identify, pursue and achieve their academic and professional aspirations. During the high school years, Scholars focus on activities to propel them on their academic journey. After high school, Schuler provides support that helps Scholars flourish in college and beyond. These resources–which are all free to Scholars and their families enable Scholars to create, and follow, a customized roadmap to succeed at highly selective colleges and universities.


Every Scholar receives personal coaching and counseling from Schuler’s professional staff to help them excel academically in high school. Whether overcoming challenges in a difficult subject, or increasing performance on standardized tests, we support every Scholar’s individual learning goals.

Leadership and personal development

A 10-day leadership camp begins the Schuler Scholar experience. Subsequent workshops on topics ranging from time management to team building help Scholars develop into strong leaders and academic colleagues. By cultivating these important skills early on, Scholars learn how to thrive in any academic environment.


We introduce Scholars to a wide variety of cultural, social and civic experiences, including travel around the US and abroad, to expose them to new perspectives. As a result, Scholars expand their cultural curiosity and develop the confidence they need to succeed in a college environment and beyond.

College counseling

We focus on helping Scholars find the top college that’s the best fit for them. Scholars and their families receive expert guidance on maximizing financial aid and building strong college applications. Every Scholar visits at least 15 of the more than 140 Schuler-approved colleges or universities by senior year to experience a variety of college environments.

College and alumni support

Every Scholar is matched with a mentor upon entering college. We also offer career support and networking opportunities to help Scholars land career-launching jobs upon graduation. The Schuler network, now 1000 strong, provides a lifelong connection for Scholars to rely on, as they advance in their career.

From 20 students to 1400

The Schuler Scholar Program, founded by Jack and Tanya Schuler Sharman in 2001, is rooted in our belief that a high-quality education is transformative for students as well as their communities. We began our partnership with one school and a handful of students, which produced two graduating seniors in 2002. During that first year we focused on mentoring the younger students and assisting the seniors with college scholarships and honing our program to better support students through this journey. To date, Schuler has helped more than 1,200 first-generation students, students of color, and low-income students in Chicago on their path to college and beyond.