Asha Campbell ’17 says she not only was fortunate to have parents who encouraged her to go to college, but she also was fortunate to attend a school at which the teachers put college in the forefront. So when she arrived at Babson and discovered a program that helps high school students maneuver through the college application process, she eagerly signed up. “I felt this was a good way to give others the opportunities I had. These are bright students,” says Campbell.
The Babson Admission Mentors (BAM) program partners with Boston’s John D. O’Bryant School of Math-ematics and Science. The high school employs college counselors, but BAM offers a one-on-one experience, pairing one Babson mentor with one high school junior. “We help fill in the gaps by offering a detailed overview of the entire college application process—from tests to campus tours, essays, and financial aid,” says Abby Rios ’14, president and co-founder of BAM.
Rios is passionate about the mentoring program. As a first-year student, Rios missed her home and large family in Texas. She kept in touch with the counselor in Babson’s Office of Undergraduate Admission who originally had interviewed her, and Rios appreciated the support. During her sophomore year, she joined what was then known as the Babson Peer Consultants (BPC), a group run by the admission office that assisted local high school students with the college search process.
Rios enjoyed the work, but she envisioned reaching even more students and felt the program would be more effective if it offered one-on-one mentoring. The admission staff agreed with her idea, and five students, two of them also from BPC, joined her. They drafted a constitution—“which was sort of like a business plan,” she says—and wrote a proposal for the Student Government Association, which now funds the group. By fall 2012, BAM was underway with two advisers from the undergraduate admission staff. “BAM is an extension of BPC, but it’s focused on the steps that need to be taken when applying to college,” says Rios.
BAM currently consists of 25 high school juniors and 25 Babson mentors, a majority of whom, so far, have been first-years. “Our students view this as an advantage because we’ve just been through the application process,” says Campbell, who is excited for her mentee’s prospects. “I’ll stay in touch with her next year because I want to know how she does.”
After graduation, Rios will return to Texas, where she has a job at Oracle, but she plans to stay in touch with the group. As for Campbell, she plans to continue with BAM. “I’m applying for the executive board,” she says. “I would like to have more input with topics and be more involved in planning the sessions.”—Sharman Andersen