Higher education has consistently proven to be one of the best ways for students to get ahead, particularly in a world that is rapidly automating away some of the most widely held jobs available to those without it.
While colleges have sought to reduce barriers to students, they are increasingly criticized as drivers of inequality, with low and middle income students being left behind by an increasingly complex system that favors those who can afford personalized help.
Regardless of their socioeconomic status, students are let down and left behind by a system that favors the kind of one size fits all advice pushed by the college admissions industry and an overwhelmed guidance infrastructure where the average counsellor is advising over 400 students of vastly different needs, strengths and goals. With administration budgets already stretched thin, colleges and schools are unable to provide the kind of one to one guidance that makes a real difference in students’ lives and greatly improves outcomes. The vastly different schools, programs and majors that students apply to makes it incredibly difficult to find informed mentors who can provide guidance from first hand experience. The internet should solve this problem, but has yet to. Through a platform connecting students to mentors who were in their place just a few years before, Squired allows applicants to get world class admissions guidance at a small fraction of the cost of traditional college consultants.
While economic inequality is one side of the tilted admissions playing field, it is not the only one. Social connections matter perhaps more so than affordability, particularly in a world where more and more colleges have implemented generous financial aid packages if students make it in in the first place. Beyond improving students’ odds at admission, these kinds of one to one connections with students of similar interests, backgrounds and experiences allow students who might not otherwise have considered certain paths to explore the best programs and possibilities available to them. Research has shown that much of the advantage of having better educated parents, classmates and friends is simply in showing students that that path is open for them too, and providing someone to talk them through one of the most important decisions in their lives. We seek to replicate this for every student by connecting them with mentors tailored to their interests, strengths and goals.
Squired is not a charity, but we recognize that financial obstacles can stand in the way of access to even the more affordable services provided by our mentors. As such, we partner with schools and organizations worldwide to provide entirely free access to our mentor essays, resources and profiles and subsidize mentoring sessions for the students and schools that need it most. We see these students as just as deserving of world class mentoring and, in many cases, future mentors for the next generation of students.
COVID has brought unmatched attention to the need for development of remote working and communication technology, but the shift to online education is part of a broader transition. By removing the barriers of affordability and access to experienced mentors, we can increase accessibility to students regardless of where they live, who they know or which school they attend.
If you are a school or organization that works with students in high school, get in touch with our Organization Outreach team for access to Squired resources for your students.
If you are a student looking to give back and be a part of Squired, you can find out more about our mentoring opportunities on our For Mentors page.