iMentor: Supporting students to college graduation

“When I think about my own upbringing, there was always somebody there for me. When I felt like I could be that for somebody else, I wanted to.”

This is how Rema describes her decision to become a mentor at iMentor, an organization that pairs low-income students with successful college-educated mentors to support them to college graduation. This is an important program because only 20 percent of low-income college students in the United States graduate with a bachelor’s degree within six years.

iMentor has a unique approach by harnessing the power of long-term, personal relationships to give every student a personal champion, and a greater opportunity to graduate from college. Starting in high school, mentors help guide low-income and often first-generation students through SATs, college essays, and acceptance letters all the way through college graduation.

Rema, who works at a hedge fund in New York City, first met Sultana during her freshman year of high school. She was 14 years old, watching her sister enroll at a nearby public college and beginning to dream of her own journey after high school. But as a first-generation college student, Sultana wasn’t sure how to access or navigate the options available to her. With Rema’s encouragement, she applied and was accepted to her “dream school.”

Now a sophomore at Columbia University’s Barnard College, Sultana describes the challenges she faced during her first year and the critical support provided by Rema and iMentor. She tells us how valuable this emotional support has been to her.

Watch this video above to meet Rema and Sultana, and to see how iMentor has bet big on the power of relationships in helping students achieve their dreams.