I AM Mentoring

Featured News

I AM Mentee/Mentor Applications

The I AM Mentee/Mentor applications are now open! The program will last from September to June. If you are an eligible student, please submit the application by Friday, August 22, 2014. Click here for the mentee application, here for new mentors, and here for returning mentors!

Increasing Access via Mentoring Video

Check out this video featuring former I AM mentees sharing their experiences in the I AM program! Watch the video here.

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Project Description

Helping High School Students Navigate the College Admissions and Aid Processes.

Increasing Access via Mentoring (I AM) program is an action based intensive mentoring model where staff and graduate students from USC guide college-ready high school seniors through the college and financial aid application processes. Through one-on-one mentoring, the program aims to provide students with critical information and support that will lead to successful application for college admission and financial aid. I AM mentors help students make informed decisions about where to apply to and attend college and provide assistance with interpreting students’ financial aid awards. The goal of the program is to increase the college-going population at the target high school by 10-25%. The I AM program takes a ‘hands-on’ approach where each ‘mentor’ works with 1-3 students for a total of 3-4 hours/month. The program spans from September through June.

The essential goal is to increase college-going for CSU- and UC-eligible high school seniors in these schools with historically low college-going rates. Further, the program will ensure that student participants are not only admitted to a four-year institution, but are prepared for the transition from high school to college.


If you are a senior in an LAUSD high school, you may be eligible to participate in I AM. See below for our eligbility requirements.

Students from our following partner schools may apply:

  • Belmont
  • Downtown Magnets
  • Foshay
  • Fremont
  • Manual Arts
  • Marshall
  • Roosevelt
  • Roybal
  • West Adams Prep
  • Your mentor will be a graduate student or staff member from USC. We’ve helped many students get into the colleges they wanted to go to, we can help you too!

    Eligbility Requirements

    • You MUST be a senior who will apply for admission to SELECTIVE 4-year colleges and universities such as UCLA, UC San Diego, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, USC, Occidental, LMU, Stanford, and out of state selective colleges and universities.
    • You MUST have a 3.0 (CSU/UC) minimum GPA to participate.
    • You MUST be a senior who will be done with all A-G course requirements by the end of senior year (NO D’s or F’s on transcript).
    • You MUST be willing to meet with your USC mentor 1-2 times a month; you and your mentor will set convenient meeting times to cover the college and financial aid application process making the transition to college easier for you!
    • You MUST agree to respond when your mentor contacts you, including classroom summons, emails and phone calls.
    • There is no residency requirement to be in the mentoring program; you must simply agree to these requirements to apply and participate!

    Mentee Application

    • Fill out an application.
    • Return your completed application to Michelle Cadena in Waite Phillips Hall 701 to be considered for mentee eligibility.
    • Email Michelle Cadena or call (213) 740-7218 if you have any questions.


    We’re thrilled you plan to mentor and advise one or two high school students transitioning from high school to college!

    Mentor Role

    • Meet with mentee through an ongoing, one-to-one relationship helping them through the college admissions process
    • Serve as a positive role model
    • Build the relationship by working on college admissions requirements and discussing “college knowledge” (majors, living on campus, organizations, college life)
    • Help set goals and ensure that students meet college admissions deadlines
    • Motivate students to attend 4-year university preferably UC or private institution

    Time Commitment

    • Make a one-year commitment (Academic year: September-June)
    • Spend a minimum 2-4 hours per month one-to-one with a mentee
    • Communicate with the mentee bi-weekly via email/phone
    • Attend a mandatory mentor training orientation in September
    • Attend optional mentor/mentee group events, mentor support groups, and program recognition events

    Participation Requirements

    • Be interested in working with young people
    • Be willing to adhere to all program policies and procedures
    • Be willing to complete the application and screening process which includes a TB Test, a LiveSCAN background check, and an online training course
    • Be dependable and consistent in meeting the time commitment
    • Attend mentor training sessions as prescribed
    • Be willing to communicate regularly with program staff, submit activity information, and take constructive feedback regarding mentoring activities

    Desirable Qualities

    • Willing listener
    • Encouraging and supportive
    • Patient and flexible
    • Sensitive to students’ issues
    • Tolerant and respectful of individual differences
    • *Experience working with high school students (especially first-generation, low-income students) strongly preferred but not required

    Mentor Application

    Fill out an application:

    Return your completed application to Michelle Cadena in Waite Phillips Hall 701 to be considered for mentor eligibility.
    Email Michelle Cadena or call (213) 740-7218 if you have any questions.

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