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Every year, 440,000 low-income high school seniors who are qualified to go to college do not enroll; 85% of them never even fill out a college application. This is in large part because low-income students face a college application information gap: they have limited access to information about which colleges to apply to, how to complete a college application, what a good application essay looks like, and how to navigate the complicated financial aid process. Compounding the problem is that low-income high schools are drastically understaffed: one college counselor may serve as many as 740 students. Moreover, less than half of low-income high school students report receiving help from an adult in preparing for college.
Attending college is one of the best ways to advance economically; without the information and guidance necessary to apply to college, many low-income students are deprived of the opportunity to escape poverty.
AppSuccess bridges this information gap so that low-income students who want to apply to college have the same opportunities as their high-income peers.
AppSuccess is a web-based platform where low-income high school seniors ("Applicants") are matched with undergraduate students at top universities ("Mentors") who serve as volunteer college counselors throughout the course of the student's application process. Using an in-depth curriculum, Mentors will work one-on-one with Applicants on the website to navigate the college application process: where to apply, how to write a compelling admissions statement, how to fill out FAFSA—providing the same services for free that currently only privileged students can afford. Unlike traditional mentorship programs, the entire guidance relationship takes place online, allowing us to overcome geographic and logistical barriers that have impeded the effectiveness of other volunteer guidance organizations.
AppSuccess will be the first organization to provide free, personalized college assistance to low-income students anywhere in the country. This gives us a first-mover advantage, establishing AppSuccess as the main source for college counseling to low-income students.