This is the first guest post in the "Local Spotlight" series which highlights local high schools around Massachusetts and their college planning initiatives. Melissa Hanenberger from Newton North's College & Career Center submitted this article about a new program they launched called, "Transitioning Together." Here is the article:
Transitioning Together, or as we like to call it, T Squared, is an innovative mentoring program launched to ensure that every student and family at Newton North has access to the information and support needed to pursue post-secondary education. Transitioning Together provides step-by-step support to Newton North’s first generation students and their parents/guardians throughout the entire process of applying to college. T Squared offers individualized support and a knowledgeable, trained mentor, to families, helping to demystify the college experience and supporting families to navigate the application and financial aid process. We have monthly large group meetings attended by mentors, mentees and their families on the following topics:
- Financial Literacy
- College Admission Representatives Panel
- Making the Best Use of Junior Summer
- College Essay Writing
- Attending Newton North College Fairs
- Individual Visits to Boston-area Colleges
- Application Workshop
- Workshops given by representatives from Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) & A Financial Aid Director from A Local University
- Making Sense of Your Financial Aid Letters
- Preparing for College
Mentors and mentees also meet individually in between the large group meetings to provide individual step-by-step support.
This program began in May 2013 with 13 students from the Class of 2014. Students were referred to T Squared by their guidance counselors, teachers, principal and housemasters. Each referred junior was matched with an adult mentor from the larger Newton North community. As of February 28th, 100% of the Class of 2014 T Squared students had applied to college with an average number of 8.5 colleges per student. As of April 11th, 100% of the Class of 2014 T Squared students had been accepted into at least one college. This would not have happened without the implementation of this mentoring program.
We recently expanded the program and launched the next cohort of 30 students from the Class of 2015. In this cohort, 83% (25 mentees) are the first generation in their family to attend college in the US, 55% (16 mentees) live with a single parent or guardian, 13% (4 mentees) live with someone other than either of their biological parents and 63% (19 mentees) receive Free or Reduced Lunch.
To learn more about T Squared, please contact Melissa Hanenberger at Melissa_hanenberger@newton.k12.ma.us or @NewtonNCollege.
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