Finish Line Game

Understand the barriers, first-hand, that prevent your students from succeeding and reaching their goals 

The Finish Line Game has been helping college teams have those sometimes difficult, yet robust discussions surrounding student success and equity. Achieving the Dream’s newly enhanced version of the Finish Line Game enables teams to walk in the shoes of ten students,as they navigate their journeys through college and explore the impact of college policies, practices, and culture on student progress and success. It’s a valuable professional development tool and it’s also fun. You can order your own Finish Line Game at the bottom of this page! 

"The Finish Line Game was very eye-opening. It created conversations about all the factors that help and hinder student progress. It reminded staff that so much of student success occurs outside the classroom.” - Administrator, Northcentral Technical College, WI

Purpose of the Game

ATD’s Finish Line Game helps increase awareness of the barriers to student success. Community college faculty, administration, and trustees will have a richer understanding of the journey of today’s college student, particularly low-income students and students of color.

“The Finish Line game led to an examination of policies, practices, and procedures related to student success, a discussion on how to increase awareness of resources available to students, and ways to increase community engagement and support from the MC Foundation.”- Staff Member, Montgomery College, MD

The Unique Value of a Game Format  

The Finish Line Game spurs personal and institutional development and growth through conversation  in a comfortable environment where participants think about how to offer holistic support to ensure the success of every student.  

Using a game format empowers colleges to:

  • Establish a shared understanding of the barriers to student success and equity.
  • Help participants broaden their understanding of the college’s role in student success.
  • Create a relaxed environment that facilitates open, respectful conversation about challenging topics.
  • Name and discuss common myths about student success.
  • Inspire participants’ creativity and engage their critical thinking skills to generate ideas and questions about  institutional capacities.


"My team recognized how difficult it was for someone who is a minority or economically disadvantaged to get ahead & succeed, whereas someone who is financially stable & is white has some privileges and accessibility to support that allows them to succeed." - Staff Member, Northcentral Technical College, WI

“The Finish Line Game offers the unique opportunity to have fun during meetings while participating in an insightful exchange of knowledge and best practices.”- Administrator, Montgomery College, MD

“The game served as the springboard for a revealing conversation about the importance of faculty compassion for grieving students.” – Staff Member, Montgomery College, MD

“Throughout the game, participants would be upset when the students experienced setbacks, and celebrate when the students made progress and achieved success. The experience of playing the game was time well spent.” - Organizer, Northcentral Technical College, WI

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should play the game?

Most commonly, community colleges have used the game to engage a broad range of stakeholders including faculty, staff, administrators, board of trustees, students, and community partners and employers in better understanding the full student experience.

How can we use the game?

Colleges have been creative in how they have used the game to generate robust discussion and new ideas to support student success. However, the most common uses of the game include: professional development for faculty, staff, and administration; onboarding new faculty and staff; awareness building for board of trustees; in-service or convocation activities; classroom activities, particularly for social science or education courses. Additionally, foundations that invest in higher education have also used our game as a professional development tool.

Each game comes with a comprehensive organizer guide that helps you think through how to design and prepare for your session(s).

What comes in a game set?  

Each game set includes:

  • One game board
  • Ten sets of student profile cards
  • Ten game pieces
  • One die
  • One organizer guide
  • One copy of ATD’s Statement on Equity
  • One copy of recommended questions for an exploratory discussion (level 1)
  • One copy of recommended questions for a more advanced discussion (level 2)

How can I buy the game?

The game can be purchased online through the Paypal linked to this page or request a purchase order form via email.
Send an email to: and include the following information in your email:
Game Order Information
Name *
Organization *
Email address *
Phone Number *
Shipping Address
Address Line 1 *
Address Line 2
City *
State *
Postal Code *
Number of Games *
Date Games are Needed *

Orders may take about 4-6 weeks to fill.

I’m not from a college in the Achieving the Dream Network. Can I still buy the game?

Absolutely! Anyone is welcome to purchase the game.

How much does the game cost? Is there a limit to the number of games I can purchase?

For ATD Network Colleges, the game costs $59.00 per game. For those outside the ATD Network, the cost is $69.00 per game.

How do I know how many games to purchase?

Each game “set” can engage up to 10 participants at once (there are ten student personas). We do not recommend using the game for groups of fewer than 5 individuals.

Additional Questions?
Please contact us with your question(s) at

Please note that all orders of five (5) or more games will take approximately three weeks to ship. If you need to place an expedited order, please contact

 Order Your Finish Line Game Here (orders may take 4-6 weeks to fill)



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