by Vivian Y '16

A Year at Minds Matter

Minds Matter is a nonprofit organization that works with low-income high school students to help them prepare for college. The level of effective college preparation that Minds Matter offers is reflected in their 100% acceptance rates for graduates accepted into four-year colleges and universities. It has several locations nationwide, including one in New York. This year, Central Park East High School is the chosen location for Minds Matter to host its program every Saturday, except on holiday weekends. Students, called mentees in this program, engage in writing and critical thinking classes during which they read articles and hold debates. Students are also given their own SAT math textbooks because they have math classes as well. On some days, mentees take practice SATs to track their progress. Typical sessions last from 10am to 2pm, with a break for lunch at around 12pm.

The first day of Minds Matter for sophomores is the orientation event, when mentees get to meet the team leader and mentors who were assigned to them. Each mentee is assigned two mentors. While the team leader is in charge of organizing assignments and group activities, the mentors help guide the mentee through Minds Matter and high school. Mentees are allowed to foster a personal relationship with their mentors and contact their mentor for any problem they may have, both personal and school-related, by e-mailing, texting, calling, and meeting in person outside of when Minds Matter is in session.

The mentors that are assigned to the mentee may have jobs from all walks in life, and they may be as varied as volunteering in dog shelters to working for a major insurance company. Getting to know people who work in diverse fields would help you get a first hand look to determine if their kind of work is right for you.

Mentors can also help with the summer program application process. Mentees are required to apply to multiple summer programs following a system of attainability and financial aid. All costs are covered by Minds Matter, including application fees which can be as expensive as fifty dollars or more, program fees, and transportation fees. Mentees are also given stipends of extra spending money to cover for their stay at their summer programs. Due to the cost of application, mentees are allowed to apply to a limited number of programs, depending on the category. However, all mentees are accepted into at least one summer program of their choice, and they can choose from many, including ones at colleges in different states. Junior mentees are allowed to apply to programs out of the country, that can be technology and animation workshops in places as far as Tokyo, Japan.

During the last few sessions of Minds Matter, mentees prepare to give a presentation on a college assigned to their team. My team learned a lot about NYU and its statistics, and we also toured around NYU to get a feel for what it’s like to live around an urban campus. Although I learned a lot about the college application process, including what it’s like to give an interview, I also had a lot of fun during my first year at Minds Matter. It is a creative take on fostering students who want to excel in high school and get into the college and career of their dreams.

To apply, visit and feel free to contact me for more information! E-mail at


By Mr. Lakhaney

TOK Teacher

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