How can we, as mentors, help bridge the gap between secondary and post-secondary education? (by Sayrah Shelton)

How can we, as mentors, help bridge the gap between secondary and post-secondary education?

I remember thinking about high school graduation as a sort of relief. I’m finally finished with school1 Time for freedom and Fun! Little did I know what was ahead of me. Did I know what I wanted to do and what I wanted to be when I “grew up”? Where I wanted to go to school, or how I was going to pay for it? Graduation was right around the corner, and I had no college plan. Reality was really starting to set in. I had so many questions, so many things to do before graduation, and I had no idea where to begin.

It can be extremely overwhelming not knowing what career you want to pursue, what college to choose, and especially how to pay for your education. The Salem-Keizer Education Foundation has a program called ASPIRE. The program offers mentors to help guide and assist students in pursuing education and training beyond high school. Mentors are available to help explore interests, assist with college applications, FAFSA (free application for federal student aid), various scholarships that are available to them, and what steps they need to take before graduating in order to accomplish their educational and career goals.

In 2013, the most recent year for which NCES figures are available, 45.5% of low-income high school graduates were enrolled in a two or four-year college. That is down from 58.4% in 2007. This is where mentors fall into place, to help bridge the gap between secondary and postsecondary education. Research confirms that quality mentoring relationships have positive effects on teens in a variety of personal, academic, and professional situations. Ultimately mentoring connects a young person to personal growth and development as well as social and economic opportunity. According to one and three people will grow up without this critical asset.

Mentors serve as vital resources that youth draw on for academic success. With the contributions of volunteers, we can help teens accomplish their goals of graduating high school and college which will allow them to obtain a career that will create a lifetime of success. We can help close the gap between secondary and post-secondary education. Become a mentor and change a life!



Source 1:

Salem-Keizer Education Foundation, ASPIRE. Web 09 Mar. 2016

This website offers a chance for you to become an ASPIRE mentor, as well as information about their program. They discuss what a mentor is to them and to their program, and how mentors can help students with college preparations.

Source 2:

The Executive Office of the President. “Increasing College Opportunity for Low-Income Students: Promising Models and a Call to Action.” 2014   Web. 09 Mar. 2016

This Article by the Executive Office of the President informs about how and why there is an educational gap between secondary and post-secondary education. There is information on how things we can do to emphasize the importance of a college education as well as promoting college access and success. It states promising interventions on ways to help low-income students enroll in match institutions and succeed in college, and goals to promote more programs such as career and college readiness programs to create a larger low-income student pool in college enrollments.

Source 3:

Kisker, Carrie B. “Integrating high school and the community college: previous efforts and           current possibilities.” Community College Review 34.1 (2006): 68+. Academic OneFile.         Web. 09 Mar. 2016.


In this article the author discusses ways to high school and the first 2-years of college. She explores ideas from Leonard Koo’s 6-4-4 plan of public school organization, Middle College High School, and the early college high school initiative. She emphasizes how these programs focus on first-generation college students, low-income and at-risk teens who have a larger disadvantage of enrolling and completing college than those who are not. She discusses how these ideas can help bridge the gap between secondary and post-secondary education creating more success educationally within our youth.



How to get involved:


  • You can also get involved by visiting org. This website offers mentoring programs where you can either volunteer to be a mentor or find a mentor for someone in need.




  1. Facebook5

    Love love love this! I am in my first year of college and if I would have had a mentor, the transition from high school to college would have been so much better. I think that just the thought of how expensive college is will set students back from college. It is so expensive and FAFSA can be a hard thing to figure out. It is awesome to read a blog about someone who cares so much about education because I totally agree!
    You did a great job researching and choosing what to put in the blog. Very well done! 🙂

  2. Sayrah, I love that you kept the original introduction from your rough draft. It covers the many emotions that high school seniors have as they realize that college is creeping up. There’s a lot of issues that come up that most 17-18 year olds have little idea about and a mentor would be a great help in exploring all of these venues. Thanks for listing the websites on how to make this possible!

  3. Emily Monroe

    Sayrah, I’m glad that you left the original introduction from the rough draft, it covers the myriad of emotions that a high school senior has when they realize that college is approaching faster than they thought it would. I would have loved to have a personal mentor instead of a handout with a list of resources to use. High schools should find a way to have meetings to keep students on track. Great blogpost!

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