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GMU Early Identification Program

ACPS/GMU College Preparatory Program for First Generation College Goers

The Early Identification Program (EIP) serves as the college preparatory program at George Mason University (GMU). With over 1,600 graduates, EIP provides access to educational resources for middle and high school students who will be the first in their families to attend a college or university.

Through a partnership with GMU, Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) participates in this FREE program and recruits first-generation college-going students during the spring of their 7th-grade year. 

Student’s counselors make recommendations during the recruitment season, which occurs during course scheduling in late February-March. Interested students and guardians must follow up by completing an online application and agreeing to the terms of the partnership. By joining the EIP family, GMU provides ACPS and families with free wrap-around support to ensure they are college-ready by the time they graduate high school. 

Note: The ACPS GMU-EIP Partnership is currently full.

For more information, please see the George Mason University Early Identification Program webpage.

Why Apply if Nominated?

GMU has a strong desire to serve the first-generation college-going community in the neighboring counties. Through this partnership, EIP promises to expose students to various opportunities, skills, strategies, and support to ensure they are being successful during high school and prepared for post-secondary success. The program provides the following during a year-long college readiness wrap around experience:

  • After-school academic mentoring support sessions (AMP) with EIP alumni undergraduate and graduate students for a total of approximately 18 weeks during the fall and spring semesters. This allows students to get 1:1 support and mentoring by college students, thus, providing an opportunity for networking and more informal learning about college life. Students can work in course-alike groups and collaborate on homework and projects during this time. Students also gain valuable insight from mentors and other EIP students.

  • Monthly Saturday events that include STEM-FUSION learning, parent workshops, service learning, and grade-appropriate support for college planning, financial aid and scholarship guidance, and college entrance test practice; during this time, students and families are learning "the hidden curriculum" or processes and procedures that make higher education and college a reality. GMU works hard to build up the family dynamic and to educate the parents/guardians about the college-going process in the U.S. and further explains the benefits that a post-secondary degree and/or certificate can bring to the entire family.

  • Summer Academy course support where students have three weeks of intense learning on campus in the same rigorous Standards of Learning (SOL) courses designated for their fall schedule, thus, leading to exposure of new content ahead of time; this takes place during the first three weeks of ACPS summer school, typically during the month of July. Students network with other students across the participating counties, attend class together on GMU's campus for the full three-week programming, and even take part in a career day offsite with local businesses. During this time, students are also exposed to a multitude of new research, career labs, and GMU faculty who are constantly modernizing career fields and currently making true global contributions.

Recruitment occurs only during the spring of students’ seventh-grade year. Once accepted, they remain a part of the program until they graduate from Alexandria City High School. During the recruitment process, the commitment is explained to both students and parents because they both have a part in EIP. In some cases, families reconsider travel plans and consistently support students so that the summer priority is the summer academy. Occasionally, ACPS has very qualified students not be accepted due to limited enrollment, however, students are placed on a wait-list and sometimes asked to join EIP at a later date.

What Are the Benefits If I Decide to Apply to Attend GMU After High School Graduation?

  • The college application fee is waived (free) and application completion support is provided during rising senior year summer academy weeks. Although encouraged, students are NOT required to attend GMU post-high school graduation but must submit an application based on the EIP requirement.

  • If a student's grade point average is 3.5 or higher and they meet other attendance requirements, they qualify to interview for an EIP scholarship that could potentially include up to four year's full tuition at GMU.

  • If a student shows significant academic achievement, they may be invited by the Honor's College to interview for a highly elite scholarship that may result in a full-tuition scholarship into the prestigious Honors College and receive additional support, services, and resources to promote their success. See the George Mason University Honors College webpage.

  • Opportunities for part-time employment through the EIP Office as an office assistant, events support, or through the official AMP Mentor role.

  • An EIP family network of students and staff from the past five years of EIP is available on campus. Common space at the EIP Office that includes study rooms and resources are available to past high school EIP students.

  • EIP students can apply to the GMU-NOVA Advance Program and begin their four-year education at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and are co-enrolled at both NOVA and GMU. The EIP Office and employment opportunities are still available to students once they begin their full-time status at GMU.

Currently, ACPS has 80 students in grades 8 through 12 in EIP. Due in large part to a grant through the City of Alexandria, ACPS has been able to expand its cohort acceptance and double in size over the past three years. This year, ACPS will be accepting rising 8th-grade applicants into the graduating Class of 2027 in the spring. Final acceptance will be communicated in June 2022. For more information about GMU EIP, please contact Jodie Peters at


Jodie Peters
AVID District Director/College Readiness Support
George Mason University Early Identification Program Coordinator (EIP)
Alexandria City Public Schools