Welcome to the
Learning Center.

Welcome to the Mentor Learning Center

About iMentor

The following is an overview of iMentor.

Mission

iMentor facilitates mentoring relationships that ensure more students from low-income communities enroll in and graduate from college. By partnering with public schools and matching every student in the school with a mentor, iMentor leverages the community to reimagine how public high schools support young people through the college process.

Typically, schools employ a single college counselor who is responsible for supporting all students. With iMentor, all students in the school are assigned a college graduate who works with them each week of their high school career. This provides our students with the level of personalized support necessary to ensure true college-readiness. It provides schools with a cost-effective way to transform their counseling function, and it allows iMentor to take the best new research about effective strategies for college success and ensure that those insights reach the students and schools that need them the most.

The Challenge

  • While a college degree is critical for our students, high schools struggle to adequately prepare our students to access and succeed in college.
  • Research shows that true college readiness encompasses academic preparation, non-cognitive development and college knowledge.
  • Our public education system primarily provides support for academic preparation. In most schools, non-academic support as it pertains to the college process falls mainly on a single counselor.
  • With the national ratio of students to school counselors being 459:1, the iMentor model reimagines how schools prepare students for post-secondary success.

iMentor Model 

  • We partner with high schools in low-income communities and match every student in the school with a college-educated mentor.
  • Mentors commit 3 or 4 years to a single mentee. After these initial commitments, all pairs have the option to extend their match through college completion.
  • Mentor-mentee pairs build their relationships through weekly email communication and monthly in person meetings.
  • iMentor’s curriculum structures each weekly email exchange and monthly in-person meeting. The curriculum creates a baseline of conversations and experiences for all pairs.
  • A full-time staff member is responsible for the success of each relationship. These case managers are trained and certified as college counselors.
  • Mentors and mentees use iMentor’s custom technology platform to build their relationship. Staff utilize the platform to launch, manage, monitor, and evaluate the program.

Our Mentors and Mentees

Meet our mentor-mentee pairs and get to know the iMentor program in these video profiles.

Growth

  • Founded in 1999, iMentor has matched more than 29,000 students with mentors.
  • iMentor runs a direct-service program in New York City, Chicago and the Bay Area serving more than 5,000 students at 20 high schools during the 2017-2018 school  year.
  • iMentor partners with other nonprofits, providing them with everything they need to run the iMentor program in their local communities.
  • iMentor is working with 14 organizations and serving more than 3,000 pairs through these partnerships this year.
  • Over the last five years, iMentor has grown its annual student enrollment from 1,000 to 5,000 and its organizational budget from $1M to $15.5M.

Impact and Recognition

  • iMentor students demonstrate higher college entrance and persistence rates than comparable peers.
  • In 2017, 72% of iMentor’s high school graduates enrolled in college (compared to 52% nationally for low-income students). 
  • In 2017, 77% of iMentor students who entered college successfully persisted into their 2nd year (compared to 70% nationally for low-income students).
  • iMentor is currently in the middle of a seven-year, $1.5M independent evaluation of its program.
  • A 2007–2008 independent evaluation showed participation in iMentor had a statistically significant impact on students’ academic engagement and performance (attendance, New York state standardized exams, English and math grades).
  • President Obama recently recognized iMentor as a promising solution for increasing college success for low-income students. iMentor’s commitment to match 20,000 new students with mentors over the next five years is part of the White House’s Expanding College Opportunity agenda.
  • iMentor is supported by some of the top education funders in the country, including: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, New Profit Inc., the Lumina Foundation, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and the Robin Hood Foundation. iMentor is also a part of the federal Social Innovation Fund.

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Our organizational mission drives educational equity. The work of educational equity is necessary because of a history of longstanding educational inequity in America that was grounded in racial superiority and a culture that systematically distributes opportunities and the related resources and power, to the benefit of the majority white population and those with access to privilege and financial resources.

Additionally, as we continue to evolve and learn, we have come to realize that most companies and organizations are a microcosm of a larger society. Thus, the pervasiveness of America’s racial bias unintentionally filters into into organizations and their ongoing practices and operations. Our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives will push us beyond the status quo, and guide us in realigning our systems and practices to a more equitable center. For more about our DEI work, click here

Next 5 Years

By 2023, we will establish ourselves as a national leader in college success by generating field-leading outcomes in diverse communities across the country. Additionally, iMentor will expand our impact beyond the reach of our program and make the investments necessary to ensure organizational excellence at a national scale. 

By the numbers:

  • 28,000 mentoring relationships supported, in 33 communities across the country. Includes expanding in existing regions, growing to 3 new regions, and growing our Partner Programs.
  • 22,000 students for whom iMentor will be tracking college outcomes by the end of this plan (2009-2023), giving us one of the largest datasets of student outcomes in the field.
  • $41.2M capital campaign to support the strategic investments necessary for success (58% program improvement & expansion; 33% organizational investments; 9% extend our impact beyond the reach of our program).
  • $121M total expenses over the five-year period, with a financial model that focus on sustainability both regionally and nationally by 2023.