TPS aims to provide scholars with support, advice, and encouragement as they work through the college application process. All TPS mentors are high-achieving college students, and many are of first generation, low-income, or underrepresented backgrounds. Being close in age and from similar situations helps the scholars and mentors develop tight-knit relationships that often last beyond the course of their senior year. Additionally, our mentors work with a maximum of two scholars, providing mentees with highly individualized support.
Mentors offer support and guidance by working with scholars to develop a college list, draft and revise essays, navigate different application platforms, apply for financial aid, search and apply for scholarships, enroll and successfully matriculate, and build a sense of community within The Phoenix Scholars.
All scholars have the opportunity to meet their mentors at Stanford University in the spring of their junior year during the program orientation. After this orientation, most of the communication between mentor and scholar will be conducted electronically through phone calls, video calls, email, texts, etc. Our mentors stay in constant communication with scholars throughout California. As a result, our program doesn't rely on geographic concentration, making it an effective intervention for communities otherwise out of reach.
Everyone in TPS volunteers their time to help our scholars, so our services are completely free! The same support, guidance, and
We know that the college application process can be daunting, especially to students who do not have many family members or friends who have gone through the process. Our mentors are there to support, advise, and encourage. Having mentors who are close in age and come from similar backgrounds allows for a more dynamic and meaningful relationships between mentor and scholar.
Our mentors work with scholars to determine what characteristics they want in potential universities. Then they will help scholars develop a tailored list of schools, including a mix of safety, target, and reach schools. This selection process is an important initial step in the timeline to ensure students are exposed to a wide range of institutions and are able to select those schools that will be the best fit.
Mentors work with scholars through brainstorming topics, structuring and organizing their essays, and editing drafts. We know that many of our scholars have really powerful stories to tell, so we emphasize the personal statement. Essays are an important component of the college admissions process, so we work to make sure that our scholars make the most of this opportunity.
While our mentors are not SAT or ACT tutors, they are able to share their own prep tips and advice as well as connect scholars to open-source testing resources and study materials. We have, in the past, been able to offer SAT workshops in select geographic areas that are open free of charge to our scholars.
We understand that filling out the California State University (CSU), University of California (UC), and Common Applications can be a confusing and stressful process. Thus, scholars are able to work with their mentors to complete each part of the application, taking special care in any challenging element.
While getting admitted to college is a considerable part of the process, figuring out how to pay for college is as equally important. Fortunately, many selective colleges and universities have need-based aid programs that pay for most or all of low-income students’ tuition. We work to help scholars gain admission to these schools. In addition, we have a robust spreadsheet of scholarships that we provide to every scholar. Our mentors are great resources to help scholars fill out scholarship applications, as many of them have been winners of large scholarships, such as the Coca Cola Scholarship and the Ron Brown Scholarship. Finally, we also provide tutorials and support on how to accurately fill out the FAFSA and CSS profile for all our students and their families.
Mentors help our scholars make smart decisions about which university to attend by helping them conduct research, encouraging them to visit schools, take advantage of fly-in opportunities, and guiding them to compare financial aid packages. In addition, mentors leverage their networks and the TPS family to get scholars in touch with current undergraduates at institutions of their interest. Then, mentors help them follow through with their college enrollment and connect them to resources for the next four years.
We connect Scholars with each other through our annual Meet & Greet, Facebook page, and Google Classroom, where students can post questions and voice concerns throughout the process and get answers and support from their peers. Once our mentees graduate from The Phoenix Scholars, they join The Phoenix Alumni cohort.
With schools that have limited access to college guidance staff, TPS aims to share its information and resources, informational presentations, and attention as a partner.
These presentations provide students with information about the benefits of earning a college degree and the general college application process. The latter includes important deadlines, financial aid options, essay overviews, and letters of recommendation ‒ information to help students prepare for the process. It also gives students access to college attendees for any other questions they may have.
Mentorship Program Presentations
These presentations give students an overview of the TPS Mentorship Program, walks through the application, and allows students to ask core team members any questions they may have about TPS or college journeys.