Who are the Telementors?
Telementors are full-time Amherst College students who have been extensively trained in admissions and financial aid procedures to assist high school seniors through the college application process. They also have real-life experience with the process—and know what it’s like to be from diverse backgrounds. The Telementoring Program is a partnership between the Amherst College Office of Admission and QuestBridge, seeking to bolster under-served high school students' aspirations to attend college by offering practical support and guidance through an Amherst College mentor. Only high school seniors working with QuestBridge are eligible to apply for a mentor.
“My college application process was stressful, to say the least. As the daughter of a single, disabled, unemployed mother, I thought I wouldn't be able to afford the higher education I'd been building toward my entire life. My dreams of becoming a doctor and escaping the poverty of my family hung in the balance. Through the support of my family and countless hours of research, I came out on the other side with a full financial aid package to Amherst. Now, as a telementor, I'm paying it forward to students who may not have the same support and resources as I did to help them navigate this momentous period of their lives one step at a time." —Telementor Dakota Meredith, Bensalem, Pennsylvania
“The Telementoring Program serves as a bridge between aspiring students and their future college or university, easing their stresses by providing ample resources to ensure they succeed. As a high school senior, I was fortunate to have mentors who answered my seemingly infinite list of questions about college. Questions such as 'How am I going to pay for college? How do I fill out this application? Does this essay accurately demonstrate who I am?' constantly clouded my mind. As a Telementor, older sister, and someone who has been through the process, it is exciting helping others get to where they want to be." —Telementor Camille Youngblood, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Applications for telementees for the 2019-2020 school year will be available in May 2019. Nomination for the Telementoring Program is conducted in partnership with QuestBridge's College Prep Scholars Program exclusively.
No matter where you decide to apply, Amherst College can help.
As one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges, we know firsthand what the best colleges look for in a student. We know that your potential—not your ability to pay—is the key to accessing a world-class education at highly selective colleges and universities. In turn, these schools offer unparalleled resources and open doors to opportunities around the globe. To make sure that you find the best colleges and to help you navigate the application and financial aid processes, we invite you to join our Telementoring Program. The program, which is free, will connect you to trained mentors who come from backgrounds similar to yours. All mentors are Amherst College students. Many of them are the first in their families to attend college—all of them needed substantial financial aid. They’re available to help you research colleges, complete applications, and select the offer that’s right for you. You’ll communicate with them by e-mail and telephone.
How Can Telementoring Help Me?
Telementoring addresses four stages of the first year college application process:
- COLLEGE SEARCH: Telementors can help you discover what’s out there, including schools that you might not even know exist. They can help you decide what you’re looking for in a school and teach you how to assess which ones match your interests and personality.
- APPLICATION: Telementors can assist you with all aspects of the application process. Their expertise ranges from how to construct a strong application essay to how to obtain a fee waiver.
- FINANCIAL AID: Telementors help you navigate the FAFSA, PROFILE and other financial aid applications. They also can help you interpret and compare financial aid offers, including loans and scholarships.
- ADJUSTMENT AND SOCIAL ISSUES: Telementors can answer any questions you have about daily life at a highly selective college. Whether you want to know about the workload or how people dress, you have a peer to ask.
“I am happy that, as a telementor, I can help other students by relieving some of the stress that comes with college applications and showing them that prestigious institutions are not out of their reach."
Juan Llamas, telementor, Los Angeles, California
Growing up in Los Angeles as the first person in his family to attend college, Juan was completely new to the college application process. The staff in the college center at his small magnet school tried their best to help students with college applications, but with so many students to advise, in-depth and personal counseling was not easily accessible. Additionally, his school had a heavy focus on helping students to apply to colleges within California, a popular choice for most students at his school. "The Telementoring program," Juan says, "which provides direct contact with current students who have recently gone through the college application process themselves, would have been a great resource for me."
In fact, the only reason Juan became aware of Amherst College was because it is a partner school of QuestBridge, a program he learned about through a friend. Juan says, "Without QuestBridge, I would not have applied to Amherst College and would not be here now. I still remember that, when I brought it up, my college counselor had not heard of Amherst College before and did not have much experience with liberal arts colleges outside of California."
Once admitted to Amherst, Juan worried about his transition to a school on the other side of the country, nearly 3,000 miles away from his family and the world he knew in Los Angeles. Although he found the differences in climate and city size, as well as the occasional homesickness, to be challenging, the transition was not as difficult as he imagined. He eventually adjusted to, and grew to appreciate, the tranquility of Amherst and found a great group of friends and communities, including La Causa, Amherst's Latino affinity group, that made his transition even smoother.
In the classroom, Juan had always been intrigued by the brain, and in high school he considered both neuroscience and psychology as potential majors when in college. While at Amherst, he found that neuroscience's focus on the functioning of the brain interested him most, and after taking his first neuroscience class sophomore year, he formally declared his major. Coming into Amherst, Juan intended to be a doctor, but is now considering a career in research, education or public health, partially influenced by a summer he spent interning at a local middle school, with funding provided by Amherst.
Reflecting back on his college search, Juan remembers the stress of college applications and is thankful for the help he received from a college advisor in his last two years of high school, an opportunity made available to him through a scholarship. However, he knows that many students do not have the same resources available to them as he did, so he enjoys assisting them through the Telementoring program. Juan explains, "I am happy that, as a Telementor, I can help other students by relieving some of the worry that comes with college applications and show them that prestigious institutions are not out of their reach. I hope to be an asset in their search for their ideal college and an important resource in their lives throughout the application process."