Student to Student Mentorship Program Promotes College Access
Bennington College has received a $3,000 grant from the Vermont Community Foundation’s Opportunity Fund for Southshire Youth. This award will be used to implement Student to Student, a college access mentoring program that will pair first-generation students from Mount Anthony Union High School with first-generation Bennington College students.
Student to Student will enable high school mentees to learn more about the process of applying to and preparing for college directly from student mentors who have undergone that transition themselves.
At Bennington College, first-generation, low-income, and working-class students have formed FLoW, a student-focused, student-led group that provides community, resources, and support to those from first-generation, low-income, and working-class backgrounds.
The Student to Student program extends FLoW’s support into the local community, enabling FLoW college students to share their knowledge and experiences with high school students as they guide them into their own higher education journeys.
“As a former low-income college student, finding ways to support these students is my passion,” said Sociology faculty member and FLoW co-founder Debbie Warnock. “I plan to recruit Student to Student mentor leaders from Bennington College’s FLoW student group. Due to their recent experiences applying to college and similar backgrounds, these youth leaders will be able to relate to their mentees as they provide support and information about pursuing a postsecondary education.”
Kelsey Broadfield ’20 served as Warnock’s research assistant during the College’s annual Field Work Term to design a mentoring program curriculum and consult with MAUHS to select mentees.
Broadfield, who grew up in upstate New York and is a first-generation and working-class student, can speak to the importance of mentorship and information accessibility for first-generation, working-class, low-income, and rural students.
“I was overwhelmed when applying to college,” said Broadfield. “Luckily, a friend’s mom passed along information gleaned from the college counselor she hired. From her, I learned ‘college knowledge.’”
Warnock and Broadfield’s research will culminate this spring in with a preparatory course Bennington College will offer to undergraduates who will become mentors to MAUHS students.
During the term, MAUHS students will also spend a day at Bennington College with their college student mentors, attending classes and taking a campus tour.
For more information on FLoW and Student to Student, visit Bennington College’s website.