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Welcome to the Mentor and Mentee Learning Center

12th Grade Lessons

In the 12th grade, pairs will apply to at least one best-fit college, as well as other post-secondary options as appropriate, and establish a matriculation plan to prepare them to enroll in advanced education and training and make effective life decisions after high school .

Click here for an overview of the 12th Grade.

  • Unit 1: My Goals
  • Unit 2: The College Application
  • Unit 3: Paying for College
  • Unit 4: Life After High School
  • Unit 5: Navigating Finances
  • Unit 6: Choosing My Path
  • Unit 7: Cultivating Social Capital
  • Unit 8: Preparing to Transition

Unit 1: My Goals

In this first unit, students will be re-acquainted with the program. They’ll work collaboratively to establish classroom norms, re-engage with their mentors, and build excitement for the 12th grade and making big decisions about their futures after high school! By taking time for students to reflect and refocus on the characteristics of a strong classroom culture and pair relationship, as well as their sources of motivation, this unit places student goals and the mentor-mentee relationship at the center of the year’s work.

12.1* Beginning of Year SurveyThe Beginning of Year Survey records how students are feeling as they start the year. The survey allows the program to gauge student progress from 11th to 12th grade, as well as against later surveys and assessments.
12.1.1 My Next ChapterAfter high school, students will need to move towards independence regardless of their post-secondary plans. As a result, it is critical that students in 12th grade begin to find their own motivation for post-secondary success, grounded in their own lived experience.
12.1.2 Classroom NormsIn this lesson, students will reflect on their experience in their program class last year in order to develop and adjust classroom norms for this year.

Unit 2: The College Application

In this unit, students will understand the steps and deadlines for each phase of the post-secondary application process. Students will have the opportunity to review and discuss the Common Application, as well as essay writing tips and possible topics for their college admissions essays. They will learn how to structure a college admissions essay using a personal narrative, and will prepare to request letters of recommendation.

12.2* Application Work DayApplying to college takes planning and time. It is critical for students to set priorities and deadlines in order to complete all applications on time.
12.2.1 DeadlinesStudents will begin this lesson by viewing the college lists completed in 11th grade and reflecting on anything that may have changed.
12.2.2 College ApplicationsThis lesson will help students understand and appreciate the importance of planning ahead for their college application process.
12.2.3 My Essay TopicIn this lesson, students will learn how the college admissions essay can help admissions counselors see them as more than their grades and scores. Students will also learn about the importance and power of using strong narratives in their essays.
12.2.4 Writing My StoryMany post-secondary programs students will be applying to require personal statements and/or essays for consideration.

Unit 3: Paying for College

In this unit, students will review financial aid material from 11th grade such as sticker price vs. net price and how to apply for aid. Then, students will review the FAFSA, make themselves a checklist for completing it by the program deadline, and understand the importance of talking to families about completing this important step. Students will also have an opportunity to reflect on their relationship with their mentors, and plan for how to continue to strengthen this relationship.

12.3* Finding ScholarshipsMany students have little awareness of the number and variety of scholarships available for college, and/or don’t know where to begin to find quality and attainable scholarships.
12.3.1 Financial Aid JeopardyIn this lesson, students will review key terms related to financial aid using a game of Jeopardy. This will prepare students for the upcoming lessons on FAFSA, and remind them of some key ideas about how to navigate the world of financial aid in their post-secondary lives.
12.3.2 FAFSA ReviewIn order to be eligible for federal student aid, college students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before the start of each school year.
12.3.3 Completing FAFSA with My FamilyIt is important for students to understand their personal responsibility for initiating conversations with their families and making decisions about how to pay for college.
12.3.4 Mid-Year ReflectionThis lesson focuses on students’ roles in continuing to build trust with their mentors. This is an opportunity to reinforce or renew expectations for students, including the importance of in-person events. Some pairs will begin 10th grade with strong relationships; others will still be developing, and some pairs will be new.

Unit 4: Life After High School

In this unit, students will explore the new responsibilities they will have in their post-secondary life, and learn how to be their own advocate. They will also identify extracurricular activities and campus organizations they are interested in, as well as those that can help them in pursuing their career. Students will read and discuss quotations from real college students about balancing one’s social life and academics, and watch and discuss video testimonials of students who learned to manage college stress.

12.4.1 New ResponsibilitiesIn this lesson, students will learn about the increased independence, freedom, and responsibility they will experience after high school. This lesson introduces the financial and everyday responsibilities many students will take on for the first time.
12.4.2 Post-Secondary Expectations
One of the most significant ways college differs from high school is there are fewer built-in advocates for individual students. College students must be prepared to advocate for what they need for classes, whether it’s help understanding a text, an extension for an assignment, the use of equipment and facilities, or the opportunity to dispute a grade.
12.4.3 Beyond Academics
Students who are involved in extracurricular and service organizations are often more invested in campus life. This can have a positive effect on academic performance.
12.4.4 Balancing My Social Life
Balancing one’s social life and academics can be a challenge for young adults with new freedoms. Rather than discourage students from pursuing friendships and social engagement in favor of academics, this lesson emphasizes the responsibility students have of balancing their priorities.
12.4.5 Stress vs Pressure
The combination of new responsibilities, higher expectations, and less supervision can contribute to students falling behind and/or feeling anxious.

Unit 5: Navigating Finances

In this unit, students will review and discuss personal expenses they may encounter after high school by evaluating a sample student budget. They will also learn the difference between credit and debit accounts, and the options for repaying credit card debt. Finally, they will discuss the importance of balancing work and study while in college.

12.5.1 My Personal FinancesWithout a personal budget system, students risk overspending on low-priority expenses and coming up short on high priority expenses, such as college tuition. It is critical that students begin college equipped with a plan for managing a budget.
12.5.2 Understanding CreditIn their senior year of high school, students may start to receive letters from credit card companies. Many students may also be considering student loans as a way to pay for college.
12.5.3 Working in CollegeMany college students work during college in order to be as financially independent as possible. When searching for a college job, students must consider their priorities and choose jobs that will help them achieve their goals, rather than get in the way.

Unit 6: Choosing My Path

In this unit, students will revise or complete the Scorecard slide of the PREP project based on the programs they were accepted to, as well as any changes in their perspective or priorities that have happened since last year. Students will also be guided through how to read a financial aid award letter in preparation for reading their own. Then, they’ll use their own financial aid award letters to compare how much they would actually pay (their net price) at the different colleges they are considering.

12.6.1 Fit FactorsStudents face very difficult and momentous decisions this year. It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of college acceptances and forget to think rationally about what to do after high school.
12.6.2 Financial Aid AwardFinancial aid award packages can be difficult to understand. Whether a loan is subsidized or not, how much a grant will actually cover, and the benefits and drawbacks of using Federal Work-Study to earn (mostly) tax-free income are just a few of the complex financial dilemmas students are likely to face.
12.6.3 My Net PriceThe net price of college often differs wildly from the sticker price, particularly for 4 year and private universities. To make an informed decision about college, students need to compare net prices: the cost of attendance (including living expenses) minus their financial aid offers.

Unit 7: Cultivating Social Capital

In this unit, students will identify people who can help them transition from high school to post-secondary. They’ll also learn about services and resources that colleges provide to support students. Students will role play how to ask a college advisor or instructor for help, and learn why it is normal to sometimes feel out of place.

12.7.1 Support for My TransitionThe term “summer melt” refers to the phenomenon of college-intending high school graduates failing to make it to campus. It is most common among young people who would be first-generation college students.
12.7.2 Communities of SupportIt is important for students to think about what kind of people, communities, friendships, and support networks they will want to seek out after high school.
12.7.3 Cultivating Social CapitalThe most successful college students are those who seek support when they need it. This can feel awkward for many young adults, especially those who wish to prove their independence.
12.7.4 Finding My PlaceIn any environment, there is the potential to feel out of place, whether because of race/ethnicity, gender, religion, income background, or something else.

Unit 8: Preparing to Transition

In this unit, students will begin their transition to life after high school by creating a matriculation plan. They will then imagine how their relationships with their mentors will stay the same and change, and create a communication plan to help structure the way they hope to continue collaborating with their mentor after the structured interactions they have had throughout high school.

12.8.1 My Matriculation PlanFirst-generation college students are particularly vulnerable to “summer melt,” the phenomenon that describes how 4 out of 10 college-intending freshman—even those who have already paid a deposit—fail to make it to campus in the fall because they missed on of many required tasks from their college.
12.8.2 Introducing the PSPAfter high school, mentors and mentees will need to drive the relationship without support from a weekly class.
12.8.3 Being a Post-Secondary PairAfter high school, students’ relationships with mentors will be more of a two-way street. Successful pairs communicate often, share their lives, ask for help and see each other in person.
12.8.4 End of High School CelebrationIn this lesson, students will reflect on how their mentors have contributed and supported their growth during high school.
12.8.5 End of Year SurveyThe End of Year Survey allows PMs to gauge where students are and how they have progressed compared to earlier surveys. By completing this survey, students provide necessary information to help ensure the efficacy and success of the program.