Minds Matter’s mission to transform the lives of accomplished high school students from low-income families is met through an integrated three-year program. Follow Farhana on her journey:
Farhana is recommended to Minds Matter by her guidance counselor in the spring of her freshman year. She submits an application and is accepted to Minds Matter’s program.
On a sunny Saturday morning, Farhana attends her first Minds Matter session. There she is introduced to her new mentors that will guide her through the next 3 years to graduation and college meeting every Saturday during the school year for 2 hours.
The following Saturday she meets her writing & critical thinking advisors and test prep instructors. These volunteers wake up on Saturdays to provide a focused curriculum designed to help with grammar and vocabulary.
Guided by her team of mentors and teachers, Farhana is excelling in academics both at school and within the program. She gains insight with mock college admissions exercises and her confidence soars as she completes her first year at Minds Matter.
Farhana is enrolled in her first summer program, the Minds Matter Academic and Leadership Development Academy! At ALDA, Farhana will gain deeper academic and leadership skills, as well as get to know her fellow Minds Matter mentees. She is excited as older students have told her about the experience and how much they enjoyed participating!
After spending the summer at ALDA where she gained skills in writing, math, test prep and leadership development, Farhana is ready to begin 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.
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 their Junior year. 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 our program partners.
The beginning of her 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 and Test Prep. 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, the students and mentors work toward a final Senior Project called “Capstone.” This project is an opportunity for the students to organize a community 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 seniors with a performance-based stipend of up to $1,000 to pay for tuition, books, and/or computers. Minds Matter graduates have attended universities including Williams College, Hunter CUNY, Columbia University and dozens of other institutions across the country. This three-year journey is over, and her next adventure is about to begin.