Today, 63% of U.S. jobs require some college education, and a 4-year degree is worth $1 million more in lifetime earnings than a high school diploma. Yet, an enormous gap in college completion exists across both racial and socioeconomic lines. Nationally, 45% of low-income students enroll in college, whereas 78% of high-income students do. Additionally, only 11% of low-income, first-generation college students earn a college degree within 6 years compared to 54% of high-income students. This disparity is both unjust and unsustainable. For underserved students, post-secondary completion is the most reliable milestone for improved life outcomes.
We also know that getting into college is just the beginning of the journey for many low-income and first-generation college students. Once on campus, students face a new set of dynamics and considerations that can impact their post-secondary trajectories and path to degree completion and gainful employment. And, while various resources exist on college campuses to support students, these resources are not reliably translating into persistence and completion for first-generation college students. We believe that well-structured and well-supported long-term mentoring relationships are uniquely positioned to respond to and embrace the complexity of students’ post-secondary needs in a dynamic and individualized way.
Through a Post-Secondary Program, mentors and mentees continue their relationship with support from iMentor + BBBS, navigating challenges that can range from financial aid deadlines to adjusting to a college campus and independent life. This program includes timely resources and reminders for both mentors and mentees, a monthly mentoring curriculum, summer programming, and individual advising sessions differentiated by pathway and time of year. Through this blend of support for mentoring relationships and services delivered directly by program staff, partners can play a role in positive post-secondary outcomes for students, making good on the work done in mentor2.0 and further realizing the incredible potential of our students.
- PSP participants on-time college enrollment was 23 percentage points better than non-PSP participants
- PSP students who did not enroll on time eventually enrolled in college at double the rate of their non-PSP peers
- More pairs enrolled in our PSP program than the previous year
- Summer melt rate decreased, meaning more students who enrolled in the spring matriculated in the fall
- Pairs were highly engaged with PSP program elements
For more on these data points, check out pages 31 - 39 of February 2020 Outcomes Report
iMentor offers a comprehensive Post-Secondary Program that facilitates mentors and mentees continuing their fruitful high-school relationships to ensure that students complete college or another post-secondary pathway on the road to personal and professional success.
Partner Programs hopes to empower and equip partners to provide students with a combination of advising support from a dedicated Program Manager, a monthly mentoring curriculum, and local and national post-secondary support resources that will, in turn, support students as they pursue their individual post-secondary pathways toward their highest aspirations.
1-1 advising between a student and a qualified college counselor is a key lever to helping students navigate challenges and take advantage of opportunities on their post-secondary journey. Advising sessions provide regular check-ins with students during which program staff can provide both proactive support around common challenges faced by students on a given post-secondary pathway and reactive support bespoke to a student’s unique needs. These sessions result in a clear and actionable set of next steps for a student to take to keep them on track to persist and succeed in their chosen pathway.
Research shows that regular communications and reminders via text message can help a student stay on track to persist in their post-secondary pathway. A full texting scope and sequence, containing student-facing and mentor-facing text messages provides post-secondary program staff with everything they need to share the right content at the right time. In addition to providing pathway-specific reminders and updates, these messages open a line of communication between program staff and students that help staff assess student needs.
Along with text messages, monthly newsletters provide a regular source of reminders, resources, and celebrations of student and pair accomplishments. Newsletters can also play a role in cultivating a sense of PSP community.
Monthly Discussion Guides
Recognizing that mentors are the expert on their mentee, we provide monthly mentor-facing discussion guides differentiated by college and non-college pathway. These give mentors a valuable tool they can use in synthesis with their expertise to make sure conversations help move a student forward on their path towards post-secondary success.
In-person and virtual events facilitated by the Post-Secondary Program staff are an opportunity to teach mentors and students valuable skills, deepen the pair relationship, and build the PSP community. Whether onboarding pairs to the program, providing support around financial aid applications, or helping a student develop interview skills, events provide students with face-to-face support from program staff and an accessible and productive way to spend time with their mentors.