BOISE -- A national non-profit organization is helping Treasure Valley high school students navigate the college application process. The goal is to better prepare those students to earn four-year degrees.
Strive for College pairs Boise State University undergraduates with high school juniors and seniors to accomplish the task.
Those we talked to gave the first-year program positive reviews.
"You're changing another persons life for the better," said BSU student Katlyn Barkell, a Strive for College mentor who spoke with KTVB.
Barkell is a freshman at Boise State who's using her recent college application experience to inspire students in nearby Emmett, Idaho.
"They kind of knew about the process, but they weren't quite sure how to get it through," she said.
Organizers hope to grow the program from a small pilot group to help many more students.
"Right now, we're serving a small pilot group of students out of Homedale High School and Emmett High School about 30 students," said David Wallace Eastwood, the Strive for College Idaho regional director.
Eastwood says the group is recruiting new mentors so it can increase the number of students reached.
"Trying to solve the inequalities of college access, we think the best way to do that is by recruiting undergraduate mentors," said Eastwood.
HOW IT WORKS
College mentors meet with their mentees in person and by computer using Skype at least once a week. The undergraduates help teenagers research colleges, write entrance essays and fill out paperwork.
"It's helping students find out that they can do something more than where they're at right now and that there's something after high school and there's something to look forward to," said Barkell of the mentorship program.
Strive for College is supported locally by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, but directors told us it's the time the college students donate that makes the biggest impact.
"The bond that's created between the high school student and the undergraduate student who are really going to be peers in the next couple of years is really the magic that makes everything work," said Eastwood.
Strive for College leaders hope to start Strive programs at more Idaho colleges in the near future. This semester, Boise State mentors plan to help students at three more Idaho high schools go on to a four-year university.