“What AP courses should I take: APUSH, AP Calculus AB or BC? What should I do during the summer: a summer program, research, or an internship? What is EECS at Berkeley really like? What are the different career choices in the Biotech field? How is the college culture at Columbia?” These are among some of the questions on the minds of college-bound students, according to two Indian American students, who have now found a way to solve this pressing need for college mentorship and resources.
Sejal Rathi and Utsav Kataria have founded Leap2College, a student-run ecosystem that provides a free platform to help high school students navigate the challenging process of college admissions.
Rathi is a junior, while Kataria is a sophomore at Lynbrook High School in San Jose, Calif.
“This endless barrage of tantalizing questions has been running through our minds since the first day of 9th grade. We’ve seen similar questions plague our peers, who are also stressed about the ins and outs of college and how to succeed in this upcoming chapter of their lives,” they told India-West. “We knew that there had to be something we could do to find – and share – the right answers to these endless questions.”
They hope to build a community of mentors, provide a comprehensive library of resources, and bring high school peers together who can always count on each other and build an ecosystem of support and lifelong friendships.
“We strongly believe that guidance from the right mentor can be vital in choosing the optimal path,” they said, adding that they have an “amazing” group of enthusiastic college students and graduates who have studied at the nation’s top-ranked universities, such as Stanford, Harvard, UC Berkeley, UCLA, USC, UPenn, CMU, and Columbia to name a few, and are excited to give back to their community and provide high school students with invaluable advice that they wish they had received during their earlier education.
“Their advice has led to real change in the lives of the students they’ve helped,” said Rathi and Kataria.
In addition to mentorship, the platform provides a comprehensive list of key resources, including information about preparing for SAT/ACT and AP Courses. They said they have also consolidated a list of scholarships, research opportunities, summer programs, and much more at leap2college.org/resources.
They also run an interview series where college students and mentors share personal stories of their journey about high school curriculum, activities, college applications, college selection, college life, and professional experience.
Some of the interviews can be found at leap2college.org/interviews.
High school students with any questions about the college process can sign up as a mentee at leap2college.org and college students or graduates who would like to help can sign up to be a mentor at https://www.leap2college.org/mentors.