Mentoring Overview

General Guidelines

      1. Meet with your mentee at least once a week for 30-60 minutes  
      2. Try to meet in person if possible
        1. If you can’t meet in person, skype/facetime is preferable to phone calls/texts
      3. Use the College Tracker 2023 spreadsheet to guide your check-ins — this is the main spreadsheet that you should be using throughout the mentoring program
        1. Make a copy of it for each of your students and fill it out for that student
        2. If your mentee has a different tracker from their school/partner org, that is fine to use – make sure to share it with Rachel & Billie
      4. Use the Mentoring Resource list/checklist to guide you throughout the mentoring program
    1. Before initial meeting:
      1. Make google drive folder for mentee
        1. Share with:
          1. Mentee
          2. Mentor
          3. +
      2. Make a copy of the College Tracker 2023 spreadsheet
        1. name it (Mentee’s name) College Tracker 2023
        2. put it in Google drive folder for mentee; make sure sharing is turned on
      3. Go over the following documents and make sure you know how to use them:
        1. Mentoring Plan (this document)
        2. College Tracker 2023
        3. Mentoring Resource list/checklist
      4. Tell your mentee, in preparation for the initial meeting, to get his/her cumulative GPA (freshman->junior year) from his/her guidance counselor.  This is the GPA colleges will see.  Get unweighted; weighted if it’s available, but unweighted as the default.

Initial meeting

      1. Introductions/get to know you – who you are, where you go to school, what you do/study, what are your dreams and goals, tell me about your family, etc. 
      2. Look over College Tracker 2023 spreadsheet
        1. show your mentee how to use it 
        2. fill out first tab together – Student Info
          1. Make the mentee actually log into the College Board website to get SAT scores – and you guys should choose the scores for the superscore together!
        3. Look at second tab – College List – start filling out if mentee has that information
      3. Initial check-in: 
        1. Where are they on FAFSA? (they should submit ASAP after it opens December 1st. Tell them to begin talking to their family about this now – there is a lot of information they won’t have on their own.)
        2. Where are they on their college list?  Do the schools that they have for each of these correspond with their grades/GPA?
          1. Safeties
          2. Targets
          3. Reaches
        3. Where are they on Common App/other apps – have they started yet? 
      4. Have mentee share access via google docs to any personal statements/essays they are currently working on – put in their folder
      5. Make a plan for next week: 
        1. Every time you check in, fill out the Mentoring Check-ins tab of the College Tracker 2023
        2. After initial meeting, mentee should work on filling out the College List tab of the College Tracker 2023
        3. Check the spreadsheet before every check-in to see whether students are staying up to date with what is expected of them, and so that mentor and mentee are both clear about what’s being asked of them

Make sure you are asking your mentees these things: 

  • We have resources/information for most of these things; if you have any questions about any, don’t hesitate to reach out to Rachel! 
    • Are they planning to/do they need to retake the SAT?
    • SAT Test Dates and Deadlines 
    • Are they planning to/do they need to retake the ACT?
    • Registration – The ACT Test 
    • Check that they don’t undermatch OR are only looking at reaches
    • Look at test-optional schools if they feel that their scores do not reflect their ability
    • Assessing pros and cons of different schools
    • Thinking about schools they might not normally consider (women’s colleges, HBCUs, out of state)
    • Look at specific colleges with specialized college access programs (EOP/HEOP/AOP, TYP)
    • Answer questions/general info about being in college/dealing with college life
    • Thinking through real majors/not making up their minds too soon
    • How to find their place on campus
    • Fly-in programs
    • Early action (non-binding) (common deadlines) – getting familiar and prioritizing accordingly
    • Early decision (binding) (common deadlines) – getting familiar and prioritizing accordingly
    • Regular decision (common deadlines) – getting familiar and prioritizing accordingly
    • Honors programs

Big Checklist/Things to Keep in Mind:

  1. FAFSA (Free Application Federal Student Aid): In 2021, the FAFSA Simplification Act was passed which means big changes to the FAFSA application. While many parts of the application are changing, it is reported that it should be easier to complete. These changes are also reported to give access to financial aid to more students who may not have previously been eligible due to family income. While we are waiting for more information to be released from the Dept. of Ed, the two biggest changes to note are:
      1. The application will now open in December (there is no official date) and the deadline is also TBA. 
  • NOTE: Because of the shift in timeline, it is expected that many college application deadlines will change. Please continue to check news updates from colleges on your list for any new info.
    1. The Student Aid Index (SAI) is a number that’s used to determine eligibility for need-based aid. It is calculated using information that the student (and contributors, if required) provides on the FAFSA form. The SAI will replace the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) starting in the 2024–25 award year. A student’s SAI can be a negative number down to –1500. We are still waiting to hear how this will impact the amount of federal aid received.
  1. College list
      1. Get rid of any schools that really outstandingly don’t make sense (academic fit, test score fit, financial aid fit)
      2. Get them to consider other schools that might be a good idea (ask us for resources if you need them)
      3. Make sure the list is weighted Target/Reach/Safety → mostly targets. Base it on:
        1. GPA primarily
        2. SAT/ACT scores secondary
  2. Personal statement
      1. Talk about what progress needs to be made next – what can still improve, what can be made better
      2. If applicable for your student(s), start by using this task to help student(s) create a personal statement. Make a copy and upload it into your student’s folder. 
  3. Common App
      1. Step-by-Step Guide
        1. Create a schedule for how much mentee will do before you meet next 
        2. Review the information that has been input and scan for obvious errors (spelling/grammar errors, fields that have been left blank)
        3. Make sure the student fills out all the optional personal statement fields/questions – more information historically gets students a better shot at admission!
  4. Letters of recommendation
        1. Get these as early as possible!! 
  5. Other apps
        1. Look at any other applications your mentee may have to fill out (places that don’t take the Common App) – make sure that they are dividing the work for these at the same rate as the Common App work
  6. Scholarships
        1. Look over the lists of scholarships together according to what the child is eligible for – location, ethnicity, special status (foster care, undocumented, etc)
        2. Add scholarship details to the College Research_Master Tracker tab 2 (Deadlines) 
        3. Shoot to look at the Student Aid Index → calculate this using the FAFSA forecaster or net price calculator for a particular school
          1. Work through the applications for those scholarships according to the deadlines 
  7. Spring 2024: Choosing a school
        1. Additional resource: comparing college options worksheet (post-acceptance) (template): Use this to compare financial aid packages/costs of schools your mentee has been accepted to 
        2. Talk about interpreting financial aid award letters → guide your mentee to choosing the right school (right fit personally, academically and financially)
        3. Talk about preparing your mentee for college: how to navigate the on-boarding process to avoid pitfalls
        4. Scholarships – now that your mentee knows their financial aid packages, they know how much they’ll need to cover in scholarships