Mentorship program offers college enrollment and transition assistance for middle and high school students

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

As freshmen, Ami Kanu and Zion Moss found they had a lot to learn about the college experience.

None of the students felt that they had received the necessary resources or mentoring for the college application process or the transition to college. This led them to form the Collegiate Minority Outreach and Support Team, or MCOST, Kanu said.

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

Whether students need help with mental health, time management, study skills, college applications or college scholarships, Kanu, a sophomore in neuroscience and president of MCOST, said the program was 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, providing students with someone who can relate to their experiences while inspiring them to succeed.

“We realized that it’s important for young students to see people like them doing great things to know they can do it too – they can pursue higher education and be successful,” Kanu said.

The program has more than 50 active members – 15 mentors, 15 mentees and 20 volunteers – and Kanu said each mentor is passionate about their mission and wants to be a positive resource for the community.

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

Kanu said the program partners with East High School in Columbus and currently serves ninth through twelfth graders. The organization is looking to expand beyond East High in the future, finding a college in the area to tutor students in grades six through eight.

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

Moss said he wants to expand the program and hold more events such as fundraisers, basketball tournaments and workshops to raise awareness of the program.

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

“As we continue to grow, we will be able to do that, so hopefully we will have events combined with the mentors and mentees so that we can instill in them the importance of volunteer work in their community,” said Kanu.


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