Mentors needed across Tennessee to help students reach college

Posted at 4:45 PM, Oct 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-16 20:41:21-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Thousands of mentors are needed across the state to help students get into college.

Various community and technical colleges are now free through state funding. However, sometimes something as simple as a form can keep students from applying according to TN Achieves Deputy Director of partnership Graham Thomas. Remembering the college to-do list can be overwhelming.

"So the students have a few things they have to do. They have to go to a meeting with their mentor. They have to file their FAFSA by February 1. The scholarship application deadline is approaching. it’s November 1 for students so they’ve got a couple more weeks to apply," Thomas said.

Tennessee Promise allows many students to go to select colleges for free. It's a scholarship and mentoring program focused on increasing the number of students that attend college in our state. And even though they don't have to pay, they do have to take the right steps to get there.

"And we know that if no one in your family has ever been to college before, that it can be a really daunting task," Thomas said,

Adam Prosise said being a mentor is rewarding. He helps students fill out federal student aid forms, college applications, and shows them how to sign up for class.

"College - that’s a scary transition - and for a lot of those students it’s the biggest transition they’ve gone through in their life so far," Prosise said. "If you’re looking at the time you’re investing versus the students you’re benefiting from, that’s a great pay off right there. It comes at a minimal cost to you, and it’s really just a couple hours a month at most."

Prosise said one dad was grateful for his help.

“He was like 'Yeah I’m a greeter at Walmart and I’m going to be honest man, before this program came along I had no idea how I was going to get her to college,' and that's kind of when the gravity of just being that resource and volunteering just a little bit of time to help these kids out, really hit me, about how big that is."

On Wednesday, 5,000 mentors had signed up, and 4,000 more are needed across the state before December.

"It’s cool to be able to give back and really be a part of what makes our state special," Prosise said.

If you want to become a mentor, you get to pick which high school, and how many kids you want to work with. Right now they're lagging behind in Williamson, Rutherford, and Trousdale counties.

You can sign up to be a mentor online.