Columbus, OH

Mentorship program offers help with college application and transition for middle and high school students

The Lantern
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The leaders of MCOST, Ami Kunu (left) and Zion Moss (right) at the Ohio Student Union. MCOST is a mentorship program at Ohio State that aims to prepare middle and high school students for life in college, as well as provide prospective college students with college mentors. Credit: Paris Johnson | Lantern Reporter

As first-year students, Ami Kanu and Zion Moss found they had much to learn about the college experience.

Neither student felt they had received the necessary resources nor mentorship for the college application process or the college transition. This led them to form the Minority Collegiate Outreach and Support Team, or MCOST, Kanu said.

MCOST is a mentorship program at Ohio State that aims to prepare middle and high school students for life in college, as well as provide prospective college students with college mentors.

Whether students need help with mental health, time management, study skills, college applications, or college scholarships, Kanu, a second-year in neuroscience and MCOST president, said the program is ready to help.

Kanu said she started the program because she wanted to give students of color more resources for college preparation. She  said all mentors are members of minority communities, supplying students with someone who can relate to their experiences while inspiring them to succeed.

“We realized that it is important for younger students to see people that look like them doing great things to know that they can also do it — they can pursue higher education and succeed,” Kanu said.

The program has over 50 active members — 15 mentors, 15 mentees and 20 volunteers — and Kanu said every mentor is passionate about its mission and wants to be a positive resource for the community.

“We have an application because we want to make sure that the mentors that we have actually want to be part of MCOST, see our mission and want to be a part of what we do so the students have good mentors,” Kanu said.

Kanu said the program partners with East High School in Columbus and currently serves ninth through 12th grade students. The organization is looking to expand beyond East High in the future, finding a middle school in the area to mentor students in sixth through eighth grades.

To pair mentors to students, MCOST has both groups fill out forms covering everything from grades to interests, Moss said.  The forms help ensure each high school or middle school student gets a mentor that not only prepares them for college, but connects with them as people.

Moss said he wants to expand the program and organize more events such as fundraisers, basketball tournaments and workshops to spread the word about the program.

Kanu said she would like to get mentees involved in volunteering and inspire students to be passionate about serving their community. She also said she wants to eventually offer a scholarship to students at East High School.

“When we continue to grow, we will be able to do that, so hopefully we’ll have some combined events with the mentors and the mentees so we can instill in them how important volunteer work is in their community,” Kanu said.

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