Minds Matter prepares students for college through mentorship, test prep, and soft skills training. We proudly have a 100% college acceptance rate.

"When I was in 4th grade, I told my assistant teacher that I had no plans to go to college... Minds Matter not only changed my mind about higher education, but it provided me with a supporting network and tools to achieve it. Today, I am studying at UC Berkeley, the #1 public university in the nation." - Cecilia L, UC Berkeley ’17

"I think the incredible thing about Minds Matter was the ability to attend academic summer programs. I mean, how often does a student get to experience college at multiple campuses??...Minds Matter really opened the door to so many opportunities for me." Amy L, UCLA ‘18

Students are admitted to Minds Matter as sophomores and spend three years in the program. If you are selected to participate, you will attend weekly sessions on Saturdays during the school year. Half of the four hour session is focused on classroom instruction and test prep. During the other half, you’ll work with your two mentors.

As a part of Minds Matter, you'll receive the following benefits:

Weekly 2-hour mentoring sessions

  • You will be paired with two dedicated young professional volunteers who will act as your mentors. Mentors provide support throughout the school year, coaching you through professional development workshops, summer program and college applications, personal statement writing, and more.

Attendance at academic summer programs

  • Minds Matter provides full funding for students to attend academic summer programs across the US. These summer programs let you get a taste of college-life and explore a new subject or career path. Students take courses across a wide variety of disciplines including psychology, computer science, biology, medicine, business, and architecture. Some students choose to participate in research internships with university professors or to gain hands-on experience in coding at local tech companies. Minds Matter students have attended summer programs at the following schools: Boston University, Brown University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania. 

Free SAT or ACT prep

  • In the test prep program, you’ll focus on either the ACT or SAT and receive small-group instruction, using both online and traditional test prep resources. On average, our students see a significant increase in their test performance after participating in the program - an average of 230 points from the fall of their sophomore year to the fall of their senior year.

Writing, public speaking, and other soft skill development

  • MMSF provides opportunities for you to cultivate literary and soft skills that are critical to leadership and achievement. Through discussions and debates about current events and articles, interview workshops, public speaking opportunities, written work, and more, you will develop tools that will help prepare you for success in college.

Hands on support through the collect application process

  • From UCs to CSUs to non-California public to private schools across the US, 100% of MMSF mentees in program history have earned acceptance into a 4-year institution. Your mentors and financial aid advisors will help you set high expectations and strategically apply to schools that match your academic goals and are best positioned to provide high levels of financial aid. You’ll be guided through the application process with personal statement workshops, consistent feedback on your target schools, and financial aid consultation.

Selection Criteria

Minds Matter is a rigorous program that admits a select group of students who are highly motivated to attend college and willing to work hard.


  • Current freshman: High School Class of 2023 (priority given to SFUSD and charter school applicants)

  • Demonstrated need: Self-identify as low income (priority given to those who qualify for free or reduced lunch)

  • Motivated: Demonstrated perseverance and strong passion for attending a 4-year college (3.0+ minimum GPA)