Ambiciones Program
Howard Community College
Academic Level
Issue Area
Support Services
Key Personnel
Program Focus
First Year Support,
Parental/Family Engagement


Ambiciones provides pathways to college completion for Latino students by helping high school students and their families navigate the Howard Community College (HCC) entrance process. Once students are enrolled at HCC, the program aims to increase the retention rates of first-year participants and increase graduation/transfer rates by providing intrusive, personalized advising, building community among Latino students, and connecting students to resources.

Program Description

In 2015, HCC saw a growth of Latino student enrollment and created Ambiciones to provide pathways for Latino student success. Ambiciones first started with 20 students and a dedicated bilingual completion advisor. The program has evolved and now primarily works in five county high schools with significant Latino populations to create a supportive, seamless pipeline for high school seniors and families applying to HCC. The program provides college presentations to Howard County Public Schools, meets individually with families, hosts an on-campus senior family night entirely in Spanish, and triages incoming HCC students over the summer.

In partnership with the Howard County Public Schools, Ambiciones provides JumpStart, a dual enrollment program that covers full tuition, books, and fees for low-income, Latino high school students to complete up to 60 credits towards a college degree. Ambiciones has also developed a close partnership with the Howard County Public School System Hispanic Achievement Liaisons. Program outreach includes Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and undocumented students. As of spring 2019, Ambiciones served 145 Latino student participants.


  • Increased first-year retention: Ambiciones participants had a fall 2018 to fall 2019 retention rate of 64% compared to 63% sfor non-participating, first-time HCC Latino students, and 51% of all HCC Latino students. From fall 2018 to spring 2019, Ambiciones participants persisted at a rate of 83% compared to 79% for non-participating, first-time HCC Latino students, and 67% for all HCC Latino students.
  • Increased first-year retention:  In fiscal year 2019, 16 students completed an associate degree and/or a certificate, with two students transferring to a four-year institution.
  • Increased academic standing: In fall 2018, 67% of Ambiciones participants were in Good Academic Standing (term GPA of 2.0 or above) compared to 56% of non-participating, first-time HCC Latino students, and 63% of all HCC Latino students.