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College Readiness Academy

College Readiness Academy students hold up novels

Our College Readiness Academy (CRA) is a free program that provides college preparation to New Americans and others who are not yet ready for college and would like additional support navigating higher education.

This program practices the same skills as expensive prep classes run by colleges that cost $1300-$3000. Most students show great improvement on the Accuplacer test and need fewer reading and writing classes. Some students will even be ready to begin college-level (general education) classes. Our college partner is Saint Paul College, and our adult education partner is Hubbs Center.

We have students of many different ages and backgrounds. Some are nursing assistants who want to go to college to advance their medical careers. Some are stay-at-home parents who want higher education. Others were nurses, accountants, lawyers, engineers or teachers in their home countries and want to get retrained in the U.S. Talk to us about your goals!

Our Results

  • 40% of CRA students earn a perfect 4.0 GPA in their first semester of college.
  • The average GPA of a CRA student in college is 3.51.
  • College navigators have helped CRA students earn $115,436 in scholarships.
  • By choosing CRA instead of ESL or remedial classes at a college, CRA students have saved $461,580 in tuition since 2015.
    • Average savings per student is $1,989.57.
  • Since 2015, 38 CRA students have earned a college degree.
    • 6 of those students earned more than one credential.
    • 14 of those students are currently pursuing their second (or third) credential.
  • Today, there are 145 CRA students studying in college. 
  • 41 CRA students have graduated with a certificate, diploma, Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s degree since 2015
    • 6 of those students have completed more than one degree or credential
  • 207 CRA students have enrolled in college since 2015

(National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 2020)

Learn more in MinneTESOL Journal: College Readiness Academy: Increasing equity by removing barriers to higher education

Class Goals

With the instructor, students will build:

  • Reading skills — such as critical analysis and vocabulary-building
  • Writing skills — such as essay-writing and process-writing
  • Study skills — such as scanning, note-taking, and test-taking
  • Computer skills — such as word processing and research

With college navigators, students will learn:

  • How the college system works
  • How to plan their classes
  • How to apply for financial aid
  • How to balance school, work, and home life

College Readiness Academy students

Summer 2020 Class Schedule

Our CRA summer session will be completely online. Students will need a reliable internet connection and a laptop, tablet or smartphone. Classes will be taught via Zoom with additional online work to be done outside of class.

  • Morning Class: June 8 – Aug. 4, 2020
    • Mondays and Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Evening Class: June 10 – Aug. 6, 2020
    • Wednesdays and Thursdays, 5 to 8 p.m.

While our classes are moving online temporarily, students can expect the same high-quality instruction and rigorous coursework to prepare them for college.


Students interested in registering should contact Norzin Waleag at or 612-460-7289 or Madie Spartz at or 612-424-9815.

Intake days will take place over Zoom. Students will meet the instructor, learn more about the class and complete our entrance test.

  • Morning class intake days; choose from:
    • May 11, 10 a.m.
    • May 19, 10 a.m.
    • June 1, 10 a.m.
  • Evening class intake days; choose from:
    • May 6, 5 p.m.
    • May 28, 5 p.m.

To qualify, an applicant must:

  • Take reading and writing placement tests
  • Be able to write a good paragraph
  • Be able to communicate clearly in conversation

For more information, contact Norzin Waleag at or 612-460-7289, or Madie Spartz at or 612-424-9815.

College Readiness Academy students

 “For me the problem with college is not the concepts. It’s how to better understand what I had to do. Without CRA I think it would have taken me a long, long time.”

-Gnande, CRA graduate

 “I learned in classes to express myself and to use my critical thinking skills to solve problems. The navigator is always available to answer questions and helps to put in place the college process.”

-Christelle, CRA graduate

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