Minds Matter is built on the following components, which are incorporated into each of our programs:
The Sophomore Program is designed to build students’ confidence, ambition, and motivation early in their high school years. Goals of the curriculum include the development of writing, critical thinking, and math skills. Students are given the chance to enhance these skills through lessons with tutors, weekly discussions on global current events, and debates. In addition, mentors guide students through the collegiate summer program application process, which they attend at the end of the academic year. The Sophomore Program also introduces students to the college admissions process and encourages them to develop a Three-Year Course & Activity Plan for high school.
The Junior Program is dedicated to preparing these same students for college through formal ACT test preparation, and continued writing and critical thinking skills development. The test prep program spans the full year, leading up to the spring ACT. The curriculum familiarizes students with the ACT exam, offers test-taking strategies, refreshes basic math, science, reading, and writing skills, and provides several diagnostic exams to identify student strengths and weaknesses. In addition to test prep, juniors continue to craft and refine personal statements, which facilitate self-reflection and comfort with the personal expository writing needed for college applications. Mentors will again guide students through the summer program application process. Unlike sophomores, juniors may apply to international programs, of which many have taken advantage.
The core focus of the Senior Program is to prepare students for the college application process, which includes considerations for government and institutional financial aid, as well as third party scholarships. The Senior Program includes a final test prep refresher course for students taking the ACT exam in the fall of their senior year. The targeted writing and critical thinking curriculum focuses on improving college essays. In the spring, seniors attend a number of workshops aimed at preparing them for college life and the new challenges they will face after graduation.
In addition to our official three-year program, in 2015 we established the Freshman Bridge Program. This program is an abridged version of our main Minds Matter program designed to prepare our students for the Sophomore Program. Students focus on developing a growth mindset while working to improve their writing skills.