Monomoy College Mentoring Program works to improve access to higher education for all students
Many high school students are well positioned for and capable of excelling at college, yet they don’t apply, or don’t apply to the schools that best suit them. Particularly for students who may be the first in their family to pursue higher education, the process of preparing for college, selecting a college, applying to college, and identifying ways to make college affordable is daunting and complex. The Monomoy College Mentoring Program seeks to reduce those barriers to postsecondary education.
By accessing the rich resource base of educated professional retirees in our community, the Monomoy College Mentoring Program will match Monomoy Regional High School students with mentors who will help guide them through the path to college. The goal of this program is to support students with mentors who are familiar with the process of preparing for and applying to college.
The MRHS Counselors are an active, caring, and engaged support system for students, guiding them in course selection, college preparation, and more. Many students are also supported at home by parents who have attended college and understand the system. However, there are many bright and motivated students who may not be familiar with the college system and would benefit from additional guidance. Particularly for students who are first-generation, they may not have the familial support necessary to navigate through the application and financial aid process. Additionally, applying for college is a confusing process that takes time and attention to detail. Students may need one-on-one support in order to navigate the application processes, visit college campuses, take the right courses, and meet deadlines. Some students may not have the "college knowledge" necessary to apply to college and acquire the adequate resources for financial aid, and the Monomoy College Mentoring Program serves as an additional layer of support for students, above and beyond the school counselors.
Volunteers in the Monomoy College Mentoring Program will offer support to students in a wide range of college-related tasks, including identifying schools that would be a good fit, considering potential majors, managing applications, and finding financial aid. By supporting students who may not have been traditionally considered as being on the pathway to college, mentors can help increase equity and improve opportunity for previously underserved cohorts.
A unique feature of the Monomoy College Mentoring Program is that it seeks to encourage students as early as 8th grade to begin thinking about college and making decisions that will lead them in that direction. Many colleges, for example, have credit and course requirements that can only be met if the appropriate course selections are made starting in 8th or 9th grade. By inviting students into the program early, it allows for the time and thoughtful planning needed for many of these choices.
Mentors in the program will help students dream big, work hard, and achieve more. From introducing students to the wide range of colleges and universities, to explaining the process of setting up a college tour, and from reviewing the application process, to explaining how financial aid works, mentors can help guide students every step of the way.
Those interested in learning more about joining the Monomoy College Mentoring Program can contact Monomoy Community Engagement Coordinator Joy Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org. With many in-person activities still curtailed, the Monomoy College Mentoring Program will likely hold its initial meetings in a virtual format.