Asset 1ScholarMatch

College Coach Training

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First Step

  1. ScholarMatch Destination College
    The goal of this first training module is to introduce you to ScholarMatch, the basics of our Destination College Program, your role as a College Coach, and the amazing volunteer community of fellow coaches you’ll be joining. At the end of the training module, you will be asked to complete a short mastery assignment. 
    To understand how to complete these modules, please click here for a short video tutorial.
    1. About us

      Founded in 2010 by author Dave Eggers, ScholarMatch began as a San Francisco-based crowdfunding platform for scholarships. In the process of administering student scholarships, it became apparent that students needed a support system to help them get to graduation. To meet this need, in 2011 ScholarMatch rapidly transformed into a full-service college access organization and now serves students nationwide at every point of the college journey.

      For an overview of ScholarMatch’s mission, story, and programs, please begin by thoroughly reviewing these slides.

    2. The Destination College Program

      Destination College is the overarching name for our high school programming, which provides free college application assistance and advising by way of our college centers in San Francisco and Los Angeles and our dynamic virtual advising program which serves students from around the country.

    3. Our Volunteer Community and Your Role

      By volunteering with ScholarMatch, you’re not only impacting students’ lives, but also joining an amazing network of individuals who are passionate about education equity.

      To read an introduction to your role as a College Coach and get a sense of the volunteer community you will be joining, please review these slides.

    How to complete this module:

    1. Please review the video on how to complete our training modules, which is located at the beginning of this section.
    2. Read through each section carefully before answering the questions for this module. Note that each underlined text is a link.
    3. Once you review the information, click on the button below to access the form to complete this training module.


  1. Understanding Barriers and Advising Our Students
    The goal of this training module is to help College Coaches understand the student population that ScholarMatch serves and the barriers and strengths our students navigate as they aim to gain access to college. During this module, you will be asked to view three resources and submit responses by following the “Complete This Module” button. 
    1. Who are our Destination College students?

      We support various underserved student populations gain access to college. Our main goal is to help students find their best college match based on their academic profile and social fit. We want to encourage our students to consider all available college options. Here is a comprehensive demographic breakdown of our students.

    2. College Access Barriers for Underserved Student Populations

      Now that you have spent some time getting to know who our students are, please review some of the current barriers they face in accessing higher education. Explore the three resources listed below to better understand why your role supporting our students is so pivotal. As you go through each article, be prepared to answer these two guiding questions:

      a. What are some barriers underserved students face in applying to college?
      b. What assumptions or beliefs (whether real or perceived) might prevent you from encouraging some students to consider all types of colleges?

      Dr. Andrew Moe on College Access for Rural Students
      Our Separate & Unequal Public Colleges
      The Struggle to Be First: First-Gen Students May Be Torn Between College and Home

      Please note: These resources do not aim to cover all barriers within the college access landscape, but rather help you become a better-informed volunteer, aligned with ScholarMatch’s Destination College program goals and the students we serve!

    3. What is our advising approach with underserved student populations?

      The goal of the Destination College program is to get students to college based on their best college match and fit. In order to accomplish these goals, we believe it is important to define our framework in advising underserved student populations. If you prefer to read the content, please click here.

    How to complete this module:

    1. Read through each section and click the underlined sections.
    2. Please select two sources from the bulleted list to better understand the wider college access conversations.
    3. As you read, consider why your role is so pivotal in working with our students.
  2. College Access Landscape
    The goal of this training module is to help College Coaches understand the college admissions landscape. In addition, you’ll learn how to research key college criteria in order to best assist students in building a balanced college list. At the end of this training, you will be asked to complete the College Research Worksheet using the tools and resources outlined below.
      1. College Terminology and College Types

        Applying to college can be confusing, as there’s a bunch of information that students will need to know: what different types of colleges they can apply for, what certain college terms mean, etc. Your college knowledge will be essential to help our students consider the many college options available to them. To review the terms in a different format click here.

      2. College List Building Process

        Though there are many sites that can help with building a college list, you will use the ScholarMatcher and BigFuture to practice how to search for different colleges. These sites are just examples of many that exist which can aid you in researching colleges with students. Please follow this link to view a tutorial on how to use these sites.

      3. College Research Worksheet 

        It’s time to put your knowledge into practice! The following activity is meant to replicate the college research process that our students experience. You will be using the College Research Worksheet to complete this assignment and will later be asked to upload this as a PDF into the Mastery Assignment below.

    Need help? For tips on how to download files click on this short video. If you are pretty tech-savvy and familiar with downloading, editing, and uploading as a PDF document, you can skip this step. Otherwise, please view this video first, to learn how to use the websites and download the College Research Worksheet.

    How to complete this module:


    1. Read through each section carefully, and remember that each underlined text is a link.
    2. Complete the College Research Worksheet in Section 3.
    3. Once you’ve completed the worksheet, click on the button below to submit it as a PDF.
  3. Building a Balanced College List
    The goal of this training module is to understand the importance and key criteria that make a balanced college list and learn strategies that you can implement to support your student. At the end of this module, you will be asked to complete a short mastery assignment, which includes providing feedback on a sample college list.
      1. Building a College List

        Review these slides to better understand why it’s important for students to build a balanced college list and how to support them during this process.

      2. College List Building Resources

        We’ve compiled a list of resources researched by our staff and shared by previous coaches that can help you and your student build a college list. From various college search tools to resources for undocumented students, these resources are a great way to jumpstart the college search process!

      3. Building Rapport with Your Student

        We suggest using this guide to foster productive conversations with your student, gain further insight into their college process, and understand the best ways to offer support and guidance.

      4. College Spotlight

        This document is a good starting point when you are providing suggestions or recommendations to your students’ college list based on very specific school characteristics, majors, and interests.

      5. Sample College List Activity

        This is your opportunity to practice what you’ve learned so far! In this sample College List Activity, you’re tasked with reviewing two student profiles and providing feedback on their college lists. Your goal is to ensure that each student has a balanced college list that includes reach, target, and likely schools. Good luck!

    How to complete this module:

    1. Read Sections 1-4 and their accompanying resources.
    2. Review the College List Activity in Section 5.
    3. Complete the mastery assignment by clicking the button below.
  4. The Essay
    The goal of this training module is to understand the best practices for reviewing the personal statement with our students. At the end of this module you will be asked to edit a personal statement following the guidelines and tips you’ve learned. 
    1. Why the Personal Statement?

      The personal statement is your students’ opportunity to offer a compelling glimpse of their character that goes beyond test scores and grades. Remember that your role is not only to edit essays for flow and accuracy but, perhaps more importantly, to encourage your students to recognize and articulate their personal strengths with confidence. This is your students’ opportunity to expand on their application and give admissions counselors a deeper understanding of who they are.

      Learn firsthand about the nuances of the personal statement from admissions officers by viewing this video.

    2. Guidelines For Editing

      When you begin editing and revising your students’ work you’ll likely have some questions about strategies and best practices for how to approach editing.

      Read this document to review some useful Do’s and Don’ts.

    3. How To Provide Feedback

      As the school year picks up, you may find that communication with your student will become inconsistent via phone or video chat, which is why providing thorough, encouraging, and focused feedback on their personal statement via direct document edits is essential in virtual advising. You’ll likely edit their personal statement directly on a Word document and send it back with your revisions (you’ll probably repeat this process 2-3 times before finalizing all edits).

      As you work through the personal statement with your students, remember that a good essay can boost an application that might not otherwise stand out in a field of highly qualified and competitive applicants. Read this document to review tips and strategies!


      How to complete this module:

      To complete this training module, please complete the following assignment using the tips and recommendations you just learned above:

      1. Please make a copy of the essay document to mark your edits.
      2. Mark any changes and guiding questions you make to the essay in RED.
      3. Save the file as a PDF and upload it to the Mastery Assignment by clicking below.