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About Project Discovery

Project Discovery ~ Talent Search is a college access program serving low-income and first-generation college-bound students. Our program encourages middle and high school students to stay in school and graduate while providing the resources to help them transition to a post-secondary education.

WCU College Visit


We provide focused guidance programs and innovative educational opportunities that assist students in completing their secondary school education and moving forward to a college educational program of their choice. We wish to see every student in Western North Carolina graduate from high school and those who have the desire and drive to complete a  post-secondary education.

More than 99% of our students graduate from high school, and nearly 80% enroll in college. Compared to 38% of their less advantaged peers. Of our alumni, at least 50% of them will graduate from college, while only 11% of their less advantaged peers who attend college will graduate. We also serve high school dropouts by encouraging them to reenter school and complete their education.

We serve the Western North Carolina region and the Qualla Boundary with partnerships in the following schools:


Project Discovery is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and hosted by Western Carolina University.

Project Discovery - Students



There's more to each student than just test scores and we believe experiential learning helps foster positive growth.

Available for students in 6th-12th grade, our program helps build strong educational habits that set them up to obtain their college dreams. Our curriculum varies from grade to grade but includes career exploration, college visits, service learning, and outdoor adventures.


Project Discovery DC



Ready to experience the most rockin', hippest college access program around?

Great!  Applying is easy but we do have a limited number of spots and they fill up quickly. Don't dismay, every year we enroll over 120 new students. Call us for more information: 1.877.402.3130



PD staff


Our Staff

The Project Discovery Staff is dedicated to helping students achieve their dreams.

We believe education can be fun, that learning by experience can help you in the classroom and that the sky is truly the limit. We are a small team who is here to answer any questions you may have along the way.





Project Discovery Alumni


Project Discovery Alumni

Have you been a part of Project Discovery? We'd love to hear from you! Send us an email of what you're up to, with your name, graduating class and what's going on in your life.

Keep up with all of the Project Discovery happenings by joining our group on Facebook and following us on Instagram

Quick Facts

  • Students from families with incomes below $22,000 have only a 4% chance of completing college.
  • Students from families with incomes over $72,000 have a 53% chance of graduating from college
  • Nearly 80% of our participants are economically disadvantaged and first in their families to enroll in college.
  • More than 95% of our students graduate from high school.
  • More than 95% of our students receive help with college application procedures.
  • More than 95% of our students receive help applying for Federal Financial Aid with the FAFSA.
  • Most students are enrolled in Project Discovery in the 6th or 7th grade and remain in the program through their graduation from high school.
  • There are more than 450 Talent Search programs nationwide serving more than 280,000 students.
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