Farhana really wants to go to college, but she’s just not sure how to get there. Luckily, Farhana is recommended to Minds Matter by her guidance counselor during her freshman year. She attends an information session at her school and realized that she has the drive and determination to succeed in Minds Matter! She submits an application, interviews for a spot, and is accepted to Minds Matter’s program.
On a sunny Saturday morning, Farhana attends her first Minds Matter session. There, she is put onto a team of seven other Minds Matter students and 16 mentors! Over the next few weeks, Farhana and her teammates will learn more about each other until the day that she is matched to her mentors. Her new mentors will guide her through the next three years to graduation and college meeting every Saturday during the school year for two hours.
The following Saturday she meets her writing & critical thinking advisors and test prep instructors. Her writing advisors guide Farhana through a focused curriculum designed to help with grammar and vocabulary. Her test prep instructors help Farhana improve the math skills she’ll need to to ace the SAT.
Guided by her team of mentors and academic instructors, Farhana excels in academics both at school and in the program. She gains insight to the college admissions process with college knowledge workshops and college admissions exercises. Her confidence soars as she completes her first year in Minds Matter.
After spending the summer at ALDA where she gained skills in writing, math, test prep and leadership development, Farhana begins a new year energized. At the first session of Minds Matter, her mentors are eager to hear about her summer!
The focus of the curriculum increases in junior year. Farhana now must study for the SAT. Writing and Critical Thinking becomes more advanced and the curriculum now also expands to include math, oral presentation and interview skills.
During junior year, Minds Matters mentees are pushed to begin seriously considering their college options. With their mentors, students work through college criteria’s, specialized majors, school environments. All this research culminates in the College Tour.
At the same time that Farhana is exploring her options for college, she also starts to think about her professional future. She decides to apply for the prestigious Science Matters Research Internship, a special partnership between Minds Matter and Columbia Medical Center. She is so excited to be accepted! For the next four months, she’ll be doing medical research alongside graduate students at Columbia University.
Due to her good PSAT scores and well written essays, Farhana is accepted into her second summer program! Minds Matter’s Summer Programs Team works closely with universities to secure scholarships for prestigious programs for students. In addition to classic summer preparatory classes at universities, there are also programs that allow her to travel abroad or focus on a range of specialties from writing workshops to engineering projects to leadership training.
Farhana begins her second summer program. This year she elects a program that allows her to go abroad. By attending a summer course in South America, her independence and perspective on the world is greatly broadened and her source material for college applications is enriched. All travel and tuition is funded by Minds Matter donors and program partners.
The beginning of Farhana’s senior year is fast paced. The senior program begins a month earlier to give students and mentors as much time as possible to compose excellent college applications before the deadlines and winter holidays.
The structured curriculum is now focused entirely on essay writing. Everyone is pushing toward the goal of each student reaching their full potential by finding college options that match their interests and strengths.
After college and financial aid applications are completed, Farhana works with the students and mentors on her team on a final project called “Capstone.” Capstone is an opportunity for Farhana and her teammates to organize a community service project and learn the value of paying it forward. This year, Farhana’s team chooses to host a fun-run to raise money for cancer research.
College acceptance letters begin to trickle in. Farhana receives several acceptances which relieves some tension. However, she’s waiting with baited breath for her top choice, University of Richmond. When the acceptance comes with a financial aid package that keeps her out of debt, Farhana and her mentors celebrate ecstatically!
At the end of the year, Minds Matter provides Farhana with a performance-based stipend of up to $1,000 to pay for tuition, books, or anything else she might need. Other students on Farhana’s team are attending Williams College, CUNY Hunter College, Georgetown University, and many other institutions across the country. Farhana’s three-year journey is over, and her next adventure is about to begin.