About I AM

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.

Additional Information


This infographic depicts the important of college mentoring in relation to the lack of mentoring resources available for students.

William Tierney and Lisa Garcia reflect on the past decade of the Increasing Access via Mentoring (I AM) program. They expand on the challenges the program faced and the overarching results of I AM.