Mentor MAPS - Managing Academic and Personal Success
Remember high school? The fun, the friends, the football games? But somewhere in the middle of the good times, things could get confusing. After all, it seems as if your entire life is at stake and you don’t have all the information. It’s especially scary to students who don’t have anyone to help guide them through the process, leaving them vulnerable to a host of negative consequences, including drop-out, victimization, and substance use.
That’s where Mentor MAPS comes in. By creating a safe space for high school students to navigate with an assigned mentor, students can build the social and academic competency they need to succeed in today’s rapidly changing world. Mentor MAPS will reach out to those student populations that need an extra boost – including at-risk high school students. Those students will then be assigned a powerful resource – college student mentors who have the knowledge to navigate complex academic systems and the enthusiasm to cheer them on during tough times. After all, who can best tell a high school student how to become a college student than someone who has just recently done it?
We Need You!
Your donation to this research project will fund the expenses to purchase and customize software required to launch this pilot program.
Mentor MAPS pilot program will partner with Pluform to create a custom online mentoring portal to match at-risk high school students with UT Dallas college students. UT Dallas mentors will guide high school students through a variety of online activities designed to foster social skills and resiliency, improve academic outcomes, and help students leave high school ready and enthusiastic for the next stage of their lives, whether it be college or some other post-secondary education.
Pluform is a one of kind website, run by mentors for mentors. With their experience and technological savvy, the Mentor MAPS online portal will connect high school students and UT Dallas mentors in a safe, accessible, and exciting way.
Why High School Students?
Each day, an estimated 7,000 youth drop out of high school. That’s one every 26 seconds! High school dropouts are more likely to be incarcerated and have negative health outcomes. We are facing a graduation crisis concentrated in the Black and Latino communities, where dropout rates exceed (and in some cases double) dropout rates for white youth. Only 68 percent of Black youth who start high school graduate four years later; the number is only slightly higher for Latino youth, at 76 percent (National Center for Education Statistics, 2014). With the consequences of school drop-out higher than they have ever been before, it is imperative to work together to help students graduate.
Why Choose a College Student as a Mentor?
Because they are the best success stories for high school graduates. College students, or near peers, already have the skills and techniques necessary to navigate the sometimes scary halls of high school. They’ve been there, felt those feelings, and more importantly, know how to successfully get through those difficult times.
So what’s in it for our UT Dallas Comets? Mentor MAPS will also benefit UT Dallas students who volunteer to be mentors. Not only will students earn credit for service learning and/or internships, but they will be able to share their skills and knowledge with younger students. Research suggests that young people who volunteer and work to help others also receive benefits – and we all know how good it feels to help someone else.
A high school diploma matters. Let’s show these students that their high school diploma matters to us!
For the Future…
While the pilot program will be with UT Dallas mentors and local Dallas high school students, we have no intention of stopping there. We want to get this program into the hands of other colleges and universities so their students can help their area high schools. But first, we need to make sure it works!
Your gift will allow us to pilot and evaluate the Mentor MAPS program so that we can ensure success for all that participate – and then offer the Mentor MAPS program to schools and universities around the country. Through Mentor MAPS, classrooms will be able to sign up and be paired with college students in their local areas for personalized – and meaningful – mentoring experiences.