Amplify Scholars is an iMentor/KIPP scholarship program. Each year, the Screening team is responsible for screening around 15-30 applicants who will become mentors to Amplify mentees. This article includes questions and answers about the Amplify program and details about the screening process.
What is the Amplify program?
The Amplify scholarship was established by iMentor and KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program, a charter school network) in 2018. The program supports KIPP graduating high school seniors across the country who have demonstrated remarkable leadership and achievement. Participating students receive a stipend throughout their time in college. They are invited to attend Amplify Scholars Academy, a 3-day retreat exploring college success related topics. They will also receive an iMentor mentor who will support them through their time in college. Mentors and mentees will move through a program curriculum that is similar to the Post-Secondary Program (PSP) in the standard iMentor program. The curriculum includes things like how to tackle impostor syndrome, seeking out resources on campus, and supporting students in reapplying for financial aid.
Who are the students and mentors in the Amplify program?
Each year, 15 students participate in the Amplify program. They are all graduates from KIPP charter schools, and are selected based on financial need, leadership skills and academic merit. Student demographics mirror those in standard iMentor programs. Most recipients are students of color and the first in their family to attend college. One difference between Amplify and the standard iMentor program is that students come from anywhere in the country, not just the four regions of Baltimore, Chicago, NYC and the Bay Area. Mentors are also recruited nationwide, and the program can be carried out on a remote/digital basis where needed. Most recruitment for Amplify mentors happens online (for example via LinkedIn). Some mentors have previously mentored in our other regions, and a few are iMentor staff.
What are the program requirements for Amplify mentors?
Applicants for the Amplify program must meet the following criteria:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Hold at least an Associate’s degree
- Able to commit to consistent participation for at least 4 years
- Have a schedule that can accommodate 3 online check-ins with a mentee every month (2 minimum after their first semester), and one in person/video call meetup per semester. Also a one-hour video check-in per semester with their iMentor Program Manager
- Undergo and pass a Global HR background check
- Complete the screening process including: interview, references check, completing an online application, and signing a mentor contract& background check release form
- Meet all iMentor’s usual standards for a safe, reliable, appropriate and consistent mentor
How does screening differ for Amplify mentor applicants?
There are a few ways in which the Amplify screening process differs from regular mentor screening. Amplify mentor applicants don’t attend a regular orientation – instead they take part in an introductory phone call with the Associate Director of National Partnerships (also the program manager of the Amplify program). If they are accepted into the program and matched, mentors will attend a second, longer orientation session before they begin communicating with their mentee. The applicants are also sent a digital Mentor Contract and Background Check release form to sign via SignNow. The application is completed via a separate web form (not on the iMentor Platform), so Amplify mentors do not have a Platform record.
Once an applicant has completed their application and their introductory phone call, they will be moved into the ownership of a screener. Screeners will review the application, definitions, disclosures and references in the same way as any other mentor application. For the most part, the Amplify interview is the same as the regular screening interview, but with updated asks around logistics and program requirements. Some questions are also modified keeping in mind Amplify mentees are in college, not high school.
The biggest difference in the Amplify screening process is applicants do not need to get fingerprinted. The Volunteer Screening Operations Coordinator will run an online background check through a vendor called Global HR Research using information from the applicant's release form. Results are sent to the VSOC who updates clearances in Salesforce. Because there is no need for physical printing, the background check process for Amplify applicants is usually fairly quick.
What if I have further questions?
During the Amplify recruitment and screening season (normally January through May), screeners assigned to Amplify have regular check-ins with the Associate Director of National Partnerships, who is also the Program Manager for the current cohort of Amplify mentors and mentees. There is also an #amplifyscreening Slack channel. Amplify recruitment and screening is tracked via an Excel spreadsheet showing all applicants currently in the recruitment and screening process.
For more information about Amplify Scholars:
iMentor announcement about the Amplify Scholarship
Press release about inaugural class of recipients
Curriculum example from January 2020