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EVENT: Midyear Check In - 12.6

Grade 12 

This event is designed to help pairs review their college application and financial aid timeline and checklist, reflect on the how they did during the fall, and plan for the parts of the process they have left. 

Event Overview


Pairs will:

  • Reconnect and update each other on what's been happening since they last met

  • Revisit the college application and financial aid timeline (from event 12.3) and assess progress

  • Create a plan for achieving specific milestones and enlisting support as needed

Guiding Questions:

  • What are my goals for the rest of this year?

  • How am I doing so far with my college and financial aid timeline?

  • What do I need to do in order to finish the year off strong?

Lesson Resources:

  • Welcome posters and signage visible as mentors and mentees approach the door of the event space.
  • Ensure all technology is functioning properly before participants arrive (if applicable). 
  • Setup clear way for pairs to find each other during (i.e. assigned seating, numbers, name cards, etc.).
  • Have DISH conversation card decks ready on tables.
  • Have upbeat, professionally-appropriate music playing.
  • Greet each person as they enter the event space. Welcome them as they arrive and address them by name.
  • Have fun!

Entry Point

Welcome and Opening (20 minutes)


  • Staff formally welcomes all participants. 
  • Staff thanks everyone for showing up on time (it'll be important to emphasize punctuality as part of event success).

Opening Activity: Losing My Senses

  • Instructions: At their tables, pairs will do the following:
    • In each round, table groups must decide which of the five senses they'd give up for the rest of their lives, if they had to.
    • Tables should do their best to reach agreement for everyone at the table.
    • Participants at each table should explain why they made their choice.
  • Staff will facilitate 3-4 rounds.
    • Staff should give 1-2 tables an opportunity to share to the rest of group.

DISH: Connecting Over Dinner (30 minutes)

Chunk One: Food Ritual

  • Staff will instruct pairs on how they will get food and return to their seats
  • It is important that staff set strong rituals for how participants get food to maximize efficiency

Chunk Two: Conversation Starter Deck

  • Staff ensures DISH conversation starter card decks are on the tables. When pairs return to their tables with food, they draw cards and discuss the content on the cards. The cards are intended to be used if pairs do not already have a conversation to engage in.
  • For full list of conversation starters, check out this article on Conversation Starters.

Chunk Three: Seconds and Clean Up

  • Staff will signal that seconds are available (if applicable)
  • Staff will give pairs 5 minute warning to clean up and throw away trash

Pair Keystone (45 minutes)


In this activity, pairs will revisit their college application and financial aid checklists. They will use these tools to discuss and plan for specific items that mentees will need to prioritize in the coming weeks and months.


Chunk One: Reflecting on the Fall

  • Staff will instruct pairs to do the following:
    • Review the "fall" section of the timeline and checklist.
    • In the notes section, reflect on and assess how the mentee did for each of the items.
      • If the mentee experienced a success, celebrate it.
      • If the mentee experienced a challenge, discuss it.
    • If there are items that the mentee still has not completed, highlight it and map out steps for getting it done.
  • Staff can facilitate brief share-out of successes and challenges.

Chunk Two: Working Through Winter

  • Staff will instruct pairs to do the following:
    • Review the "winter" section.
    • Discuss progress made on the college application process.
      • Does the mentee still have applications they need to complete?
      • How do they feel about their completed applications?
    • Discuss their plans for completing the financial aid process.
      • Did they speak to their parents or guardians yet about the FAFSA?
      • Do they know what materials they need?
      • Discuss any questions mentees have about the financial aid process.
  • Staff can facilitate brief share-out of financial aid questions.

Chunk Three: Looking Ahead to Spring

  • Pairs will review the "spring" section of the timeline and discuss what they are most looking forward to.
  • Staff will facilitate share-out of what pairs are most looking forward to in the spring.

Exit Ramp (10 minutes)

Community Debrief and Mentee Exit

  • Staff will ask for volunteers to share any of the following:

    • Successes from the fall.

    • Plans for the winter.

    • What they're looking forward to in the spring.

  • Exit ritual for mentees

Mentor Huddle (15 minutes)


  • Staff will thank mentors for participating in the event.
  • Staff will make any relevant announcements and preview any upcoming milestones and curriculum topics (staff should focus any topical discussions on the financial aid process).

Community Dialogue

  • Spectrum Activity (stand to left if "not at all", stand to right if "yes").
    • How well-equipped do you feel to support your mentee through the financial aid process?
  • Small Group Table Talks
    • How can we best support you so you can support your mentee?
    • What information and resources do you want and need?

Closing Ritual

  • Staff should facilitate a closing ritual for mentors to build community and to leave on a high note.