I came up with the idea of MentorMatch because I have been inspired by all of the students that I have watched successfully transition through the college process and beyond.
One thing the successful students have in common is having a close friend or a family member go through the process before them and support them as they make decisions, struggle with challenges and come out the other side. Having taught in different parts of the world with different age, income and gender groups, I know very well that not all students are lucky enough to have a close friend or family member take the college journey before them. Mentor Match can help all students but will be even more important for students who don’t have someone on their side.
The Mentor Match app is all about connections. The app builds on the power of existing social platforms like Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn, to create virtual support networks for students. This solution is a way to ease the transition from high school to college, and to bring these students one step closer to a college graduation.
MentorMatch has five main functions: It connects students to peer coaches and to a support team. It pushes reminders, tips and check-ins at every step of the college process. It contains a ‘news’ feed of mentor videos on various college topics. It develops a long term network to help mentors and participants transition into post-college working life and further study; and it provides incentives such as ratings, online learning opportunities, contests, and give-a-ways to motivate students and mentors to stick with it.
High schools and colleges will promote the app to students, resulting in more successful college graduates from both divisions.. Participating businesses and non-profits will offer give-aways, provide career-mentors, and sponsor contests to motivate students. This will ensure more qualified and interested potential employees for businesses involved with Mentor Match.
The motivation for students to use Mentor Match is clear. Instead of feeling disheartened and scared, they will receive help through the college process. Instead of giving up, they will get help.
For mentors, the motivation is to help others, to build their own career and support networks, and to build a portfolio of skills and experiences (and maybe win prizes) as they support their students.
As Jamie Uy, a current junior said, "It’s time to reframe the college process from a hurdle to jump through to a process of self-discovery.”
With Mentor Match, students in different parts of the college process will discover themselves and each other as they grow into caring, resilient and well-educated adults.
We (the students and me) would love to see this idea become a reality and we are willing to work hard to test prototypes with the mentors, students and schools we work and learn with.