Pink, purple, green, yellow – a mosaic of sticky squares fills our table. Each square representative of an invisible thought once isolated in a mind, now interacting with other squares to create visible patterns and clusters. This is the beginning of something special.

It’s been less than a week since joining the CPR team and the excitement electrifies the air. Each member brings a different past with the American education system, and we all agree that the college application process isn’t a level playing field. Within our team, some of us couldn’t turn to parents for help, while others had to push their counselors for a vital recommendation letter. But all of us, one way or another, still ended up at Rice. We don’t have the insight of someone who wanted to attend college but wasn’t able to. Not yet, at least. As the mosaic is disassembled, we agree to conduct user interviews and collect more peer-reviewed research and share our findings at our next meeting.

Key insights and Assumptions:

  • Mental health resources may not be readily available in high school
  • Mentorship and guidance would increase motivation to prepare for college
  • Potential gender differences in college preparedness (e.g. some research has found that males score higher in math and verbal portions of standardized tests than females)
  • Stereotype threat may influence school performance
  • Narrowed down our scope to mentorship and mental health for high school students that want to attend college
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