The transition from high school to college can be a culture shock for students. That’s even more so for international students.

college-mentors

Many students struggle with the transition from high school to college.

An online mentoring platform is aiming to help students get a more accurate picture of the place they’ll call home before they even step foot on campus.

The platform, called Fresh Mentors, pairs college-bound teenagers with high-achieving students at their dream schools. It was created and launched about a year ago by two recent Stanford University graduates.

“It gives you access to network of students who can provide info to any question,” Natasha Jain, co-founder of Fresh Mentor, said. “Finances, housing, meal plans. It’s having a buddy at the college who can answer your questions.”

Jain said the idea for the platform came from her own confusion upon arriving at college.

Brochures and advisers had prepared her for some of the tangible, easily advertised aspects of college, but she still felt like she was drowning in the new experience.

Was she choosing the right major? Where were the best places to study? What if she didn’t like her roommate?

Fresh Mentors is a place to ask those questions.

See page 2 for details on how much each interactions costs…

Through its website, students can video chat with their mentors, who are carefully chosen and trained by the company and its campus ambassadors, Jain said.

The current crop of mentors hail from universities like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Columbia University, and Purdue University.

Fresh Mentors decided to build its own video chat function so the conversations would be more secure than people connecting through more open third-party platforms like Skype.

“The idea is that all of this interaction happens on the platform, so we can make sure that our mentors are actually providing the best information,” she said. “It’s not just an open platform, where anyone can just start mentoring.”

So far nearly 150 mentors are on the platform, which is being used by more than 2,693 students at 157 colleges around the world.

The interactions, which cost between $24 and $100, typically last from the college selection process until they arrive on campus.

While the majority of Fresh Mentors’ users are from the United States, the site is also popular in places like India, and the company is making a larger push to connect with international students, Jain said.

“Students all over get caught up with admission materials and official rankings, but they may not know about job opportunities or how the faculty is,” she said. “Talking to other students helps them get perspective beyond the regular parameters used to evaluate colleges.”

Follow Jake New on Twitter at @eCN_Jake.


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