Paly Grads Help Ease High School Experience for Younger Students

CompassPoint Mentorship, a program that matches current high school students with recent graduates, starts branch at Paly.

For any high school graduate, the jump from being an underclassman to an upperclassman, complete with harder classes and applying to college or looking for a job, is tough. Homework picks up at the same time the SAT’s have to be taken or college applications are due. Teachers get stricter, classes get harder and the whole idea of high school becomes a lot more difficult to handle.

CompassPoint Mentorship, a program that matches rising high school juniors and seniors with current college students, hopes to make those last two years of high school a bit easier.

With programs already established at nearby schools like Lynbrook High School in San Jose and Homestead High School in Cupertino, as well as five others nationally, CompassPoint is now spreading to Paly.

Currently, the program is looking for both high school students who would like a mentor and college students who are willing to give a bit of time to be a mentor. Students interested can fill out a survey and will then be matched with a mentor or mentee.

“Mentors can help with, among other things, college advice, leadership development, and personal growth,” said Karine Hsu, a Paly class of 2012 graduate and CompassPoint mentor. “We send out applications for both mentors and mentees, [and match them based on] their levels of communicability, interests, and time commitment.”

When selecting students to match with a mentor, “We want students who will benefit most from our program,” said Jenny Hong, a member of the Paly class of 2011 and the current CompassPoint VP of Strategy. “Other than demonstrating a commitment to the program, we really are open to any high school student that needs help or advice of any sort.”

As for mentors, the ideal student is simply someone willing to take the time to help their mentee and answer any questions.

“We want mentors who are dedicated, respectable, mature, and capable,” Hong said. “While mentors do not have to know every minute detail and the ins-and-outs of, say, the college application process, we do require that mentors work together with mentees on a regular schedule.”

That regular schedule can mean phone calls, Skyping, or even just Facebook chatting every week or so to make sure the mentee is on track.

Aside from simply making the high school process easier, CompassPoint hopes that they can enrich the mentees in a way that only a student who has gone through the same experience could.

“Our biggest asset is the vast amount of knowledge and experience accumulated by mentors who have been successful in pursuing their goals and fulfilling achievements,” said Lucas Chan, the Paly CompassPoint Branch Leader and a Paly class of 2011. “The impression we want to give prospective mentees is that, as students who just recently attended their high schools, we mentors have gone through the same type of apprehensions and challenges and can help them form and achieve their own goals.”

Students interested can apply for a mentor here or apply to be a mentor here. More information on CompassPoint can be found at their website.


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