Programs

Our young professional volunteers work with our talented students on Saturdays during the school year to help them improve their academic skills, gain acceptance to college summer programs, and eventually gain admission to a four-year university.

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Sophomore Program

The objective of the Sophomore Program is to assist high school sophomores in gaining admission to competitive summer college preparatory programs in the U.S. In addition to offering a rigorous academic curriculum, this program empowers students with a sense of independence, teaches time management skills, helps develop new friendships with other students from diverse backgrounds, and provides a new perspective on the world.

Students are accepted into the Sophomore Program based on a rigorous and highly competitive application process, which includes academic credentials, financial criteria, personal essays, guidance counselor and teacher recommendations, and an interview.

Students are assigned a pair of mentors with whom they meet weekly throughout the school year. Mentors work with their students during sessions to select summer programs, prepare applications, create personal statements and essays, request letters of recommendation, and complete financial aid paperwork. Students also improve their basic academic skills and test-taking strategies for the SAT through the Test Prep Program, and improve their writing, logic and reasoning, presentation skills and  understanding of current events through the Writing & Critical Thinking Program.  Additionally, students participate in special workshops, panel discussions and field trips. After a student is admitted to a summer program and awarded a financial aid package, Minds Matter provides as much financial assistance as is needed to supplement the school’s award.

Junior Program

The objective of the Junior Program is to assist high school juniors in gaining admission to competitive summer college preparatory programs in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to offering a rigorous academic curriculum, this program empowers students with a sense of independence, teaches time management skills, helps develop new friendships with other students from diverse backgrounds, and provides a new perspective on the world.

The Junior Program enrolls previously successful Sophomore Program students and occasionally accepts new students based on a rigorous and highly competitive application process, which includes academic credentials, financial criteria, personal essays, guidance counselor and teacher recommendations, and an interview.

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Students are assigned a pair of mentors with whom they meet weekly throughout the school year. Mentors work with their students during sessions to select summer programs, prepare applications, create personal statements and essays, request letters of recommendation, and complete financial aid paperwork. Students also improve their basic academic skills and test-taking strategies for the ACT through the Test Prep Program, and improve their writing, logic and reasoning, presentation skills and understanding of current events through the Writing & Critical Thinking Program.  Additionally, students participate in special workshops, panel discussions and field trips, often teaming up with the Senior Program to learn more about the college admissions process. After a student is admitted to a summer program and awarded a financial aid package, Minds Matter provides as much financial assistance as is needed to supplement the school’s award.

Senior Program

Students who successfully complete the Junior Program are invited to apply for the Senior Program. The Program meets weekly throughout the school year and aggressively leads students through the college application process. Most students retain their mentors from the Junior Program, enhancing the foundation for strong friendships that often continue after the student graduates high school.

TSlide25he Senior Program guides students through the entire college application process by providing training in college selection, essay writing, interviewing, and financial aid. Since its inception in 1996 in New York, the Senior Program has expanded its goals to address not only gaining admission to college but also succeeding once there. The Program successfully prepares talented youth to make the most of their undergraduate experience by building their organizational and communications skills. With the addition of programming that educates seniors on selecting a major, adapting to college life, choosing a career path, and interviewing for internships and jobs, the Senior Program has evolved into a comprehensive guide to succeeding in college and beyond.

The majority of our Senior Program students receive generous financial aid packages from schools based on their academic achievements and financial need. In cases in which a student does not receive adequate financial assistance from his/her college of choice, Minds Matter helps the student and his/her family negotiate a more generous award and determine other financial aid options. Minds Matter also provides a stipend to each student who successfully completes the Senior Program.

100% of Minds Matter graduates have been accepted at a 4-year college or university.

Test Prep Program

Unlike other test prep courses that can cost a student upwards of $1,000, Minds Matter’s program provides students with free access to trained teachers, a structured curriculum, extensive study materials, and individual attention. Students are grouped into teams based on individual development needs and each team receives personal coaching from a volunteer Test Prep Instructor. The curriculum familiarizes sophomores, juniors, and seniors with the PSAT and SAT, provides test-taking strategies, refreshes basic skills, and provides several diagnostic exams to identify student strengths and areas of opportunity.

Prior to beginning the Program, sophomores and juniors take a diagnostic test and then are split into teams based on areas in need of improvement. The students then take a 17-week curriculum that familiarizes them with the components of the P/SAT, as well as providing them with test taking strategies and diagnostic tests. When the students return as seniors, they are given a refresher course to prepare them for their final opportunity to improve their scores in the December SAT.

The Boston chapter’s program is based on methods developed by Kaplan. Our students have consistently seen score improvements equal to or higher than those attained by students in courses costing more than $1,000 per student.

Writing & Critical Thinking Program

Our writing and critical thinking program seeks to take advantage of the opportunity for mentees to receive dedicated attention in a two-on-one setting and in small groups, to recognize that different mentees have different writing skills, and to integrate the process with applying for summer programs.

Essay Composition

The essay composition curriculum focuses on the construction of the personal essay and development of voice.  It is designed to develop students’ critical reading and listening skills, capacity for self-reflection, and confidence with language.  Lessons are based on a series of published college essays from high school seniors.  Each lesson opens with a group critique of an essay read aloud by a student, then transitions to a topical lesson to be executed by Mentors and closes with flexible Mentor-Mentee time.  Mentors will work to understand their Mentee’s particular strengths and weaknesses, encouraging the former and constructively working on the latter.  By the end of the program, each Mentee will have produced a personal essay which will serve as a strong foundation for future college admissions essay.