The Common Application is partnering with the non-profit organization, Strive for College, in its ongoing commitment to create a college-going culture. Now, more students will be helped through free virtual mentoring.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Education's Civil Rights Data Collection revealed that 850,000 teens across the country attend schools lacking sufficient college counseling. The partnership between The Common Application and Strive offers another support channel, free virtual mentoring, for these students to help guide them through the admission and financial aid systems.
"Strive is immensely honored and excited to partner with The Common Application in order to serve hundreds of thousands of students who deserve the opportunity to achieve their dreams," said Michael J. Carter, Strive's Founder and CEO. "Strive started in my dorm room based on the simple idea of the power of a mentor helping a student through the college application and financial aid process. It’s incredible to see our work continue to scale through virtual mentoring in our quest to reach all students and close the equity gap."
This year, students applying to college through the Common App, who indicate a need for a fee waiver, will be able to register for a Strive mentor. Many of these students will be the first in their families to seek higher education. Some may need help navigating the college application process as well as filling out FAFSA documents and finding scholarships online.
Counselors like Debbie Flaming from Homedale High School in Homedale, ID have students whose families don't even consider college due to financial obstacles. She sees programs like Strive as a chance for a student to connect with another young person. "Having those conversations can inspire them to persist through high school and pursue a college degree. Mentoring speaks to the heart," she said.
Marco Torres and his sisters were raised in the Bronx, NY; his parents are immigrants and don't speak English. Growing up, Marco knew he wanted to go to college one day. But, when he started high school, he stopped thinking about his plans - going to college was completely out of the norm for him. Now, Marco attends SUNY Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, NY. He thanks his Strive mentor Michael, who was also a First Generation student, for helping him take the right path.
"You never know what a little bit of help from someone else can do - it may be the biggest thing that's happened in their life," said Marco. Today, he plans to be a Strive mentor for another first-generation student who may need that same bit of support and encouragement.
Strive has provided mentoring for more than 5,000 students, many of whom are first-generation and have gone on to enter four-year institutions. The organization has also recruited mentors from hundreds of colleges and universities in the U.S. in addition to the many professionals who volunteer as mentors. Mentors are all in college or have graduated with a degree. They complete comprehensive training before being matched with a student.
"This year, nearly one million students submitted at least one college application through the Common App; 33% were first-generation. Through our partnership with Strive, more students who may be uncertain or intimidated by the thought of going to college will now have someone else to assist and motivate them,” said The Common Application’s Scott Anderson, Senior Director of Education and Partnerships. “Their mentor may be that life-changing voice.”