Mentoring Overview

General Guidelines

  • Meet with your mentee(s) at least once a week for 30-60 minutes
  • Try to meet in person if possible
    • If you can’t meet in person, video chat is preferable to phone calls/texts
  • Stay organized! Use the College Tracker spreadsheet to guide your check-ins – this is the main spreadsheet that you should be using throughout the process
    • Make a copy of the template and share it with us and your mentee
    • If your mentee has a different tracker from their school/partner org, that is fine to use – just share it with us
  • Use the resources on the blog for help, and contact us if you have any questions/concerns

Before your initial meeting

  1. Make a Google Drive folder for each mentee. This is where you’ll put information related to their college applications.
    • Share it with:
      • your mentee
      • rachel[at]
  2. Make a copy of the College Tracker
    • Put it in your mentee’s google drive folder

Initial meeting

  • Get to know your mentee and tell them about yourself
  • Look over the College Tracker
    • Show your mentee how to use it
    • There is a lot of information and it is aspirational – we don’t expect you to fill all of it out. Input what you think is helpful
  • Questions to ask:
    • Where are they on FAFSA?
      • It comes out on October 1; they should submit ASAP
    • Where are they on their college list?
      • Do the schools they’re thinking about correspond with their scores/GPA?
      • Do they have a range of safeties, targets, and reaches?
    • Have they started on Common App/other apps?
  • Have your mentee share access to any personal statement/essays they are already working on and put them in their folder
  • Make a plan for the next meeting:
    • Every time you check in, fill out the Mentoring Check-ins tab of the College Tracker
    • Check the spreadsheet before every check-in to see whether students are staying up to date with what’s expected of them

Make sure you talk to your mentees about…

We have resources/information for most of these things; if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!

  • Are they planning to retake the SAT?
  • Are they planning to take the ACT?
  • Are they applying to any fly-in programs?
  • Check that they don’t undermatch OR apply only to reach schools
  • Look at test-optional schools if they feel that their scores don’t reflect their ability
  • Assess pros/cons of different schools
  • Help them think about schools they might not normally consider (women’s colleges, HBCUs, out of state schools)
  • Look at colleges with specialized college access programs (EOP/HEOP/AOP/TYP, Summer Bridge programs, etc)
  • Make sure they know deadlines for early action/early decision, if they are applying early
  • Think about honors programs
  • Think through what they want to major in
  • How to find their place on campus

Big Checklist/Things to Keep in Mind

  1. FAFSA
    • Should be completed ASAP after October 1
    • LAST DATE to submit: June 30
    • Deadlines may vary by state. Check out different deadlines here
  2. College List
    • Make sure they are applying to mostly target schools, with some safeties and reaches
    • Check out some specific colleges/programs that might be good for your mentee here
  3. Personal statement
  4. Common App
    • Review all the information they input for any obvious errors
    • Make sure they fill out all the optional personal statement fields/questions
  5. Letters of recommendation
    • Get these as early as possible!
  6. Other applications
    • Make sure they are dividing the work for any other apps at the same rate as the Common App
  7. Scholarships
    • Look over the lists of scholarships according to what they are eligible for (location, ethnicity, special status (foster care, undocumented, etc))
    • Add scholarship details to College Tracker
    • Shoot to cover their EFC
  8. Choosing a school
    • Use the Comparing college options spreadsheet to help make a decision
    • Compare financial aid packages/costs of schools they have been accepted to
    • Talk about interpreting financial aid awards
    • Help your mentee choose the right school – personally, academically, and financially
    • Talk about preparing for college – what would you have liked to know before you went to college?