The obstacles to success for the typical high school student are daunting, and for those from low-income backgrounds, the challenges are particularly magnified¹:
- 60% of low-income students can expect to graduate from high school
- 1/3 of low-income students can expect to enroll in college
- 1 in 7 students from low-income backgrounds will receive a college degree
Academic preparedness plays a vital role in the success of any student, but even when controlling for academic preparedness, low-income students face unique challenges in graduating high school college-ready:
- Over 80% of college-ready students from higher-income families will attend a 4-year college, whereas only 50% of low-income, college-ready students will do the same
- Over 60% of academically-prepared students from higher-income families will earn a bachelor's degree, but only 20% of low-income students will do the same
If two students, one from a higher-income family and one from a low-income family, are equally academically prepared for college, but the student from a higher-income background has a 40% greater likelihood of earning a bachelor's degree, what are the other key factors to success? In fact, research¹ shows that multiple "non-classroom," experiential factors drive and support college readiness and success:
Creating a tangible link between education and career: high school students who believe that a college education is necessary for their career are 6x more likely to earn their college degree.
Peer expectations: students are 4x more likely to enroll in college if a majority of their friends plan to do the same.
Understanding financial aid: students who believe they can afford a degree have an improved chance of graduating college.
Building social capital skills
Developing a greater capacity for resilience
Communication and critical thinking skills
Mentors are uniquely positioned to provide that individualized support to help build such competencies in mentees. At iMentor, our model aims to consistently deliver such support through 1:1 high quality mentoring relationships that help ensure more high school students from underserved communities graduate from high school college-ready and succeed in college.
Despite the documented benefits of mentoring, the mentoring community suffers from a large mentoring gap: millions of young people in need of mentoring are not receiving mentors. While over 3 million adults are currently serving as mentors in the United States, over 44 million adults who said they would consider mentoring are not volunteering.
At iMentor, over 70% of our volunteers are first-time mentors and all mentors are provided with personalized support and extensive training to allow them to be effective in their roles. iMentor's unique approach combines a research-based mentoring curriculum with the flexibility to allow pairs to communicate through a combination of weekly emails and monthly group events organized by iMentor. Apply to be a mentor today!
¹ Source: Reclaiming the American Dream