Why: We believe Genius Has No Zip Code.

At Minds Matter of Denver we’re on a mission to prove that it’s access, not ability, that limits college choice for many qualified students. So we connect bright students from low-income backgrounds with the relationships and resources often available only to their more privileged peers, including: committed volunteers who provide three years of mentorship, weekly college-prep instruction, and access to summer programs at top-tier institutions.

As a result, 100% of our students graduate from high school on time and earn access to four-year colleges and universities with scholarships.

How: If you’d like to join Minds Matter as a Mentee, you’ll need to complete an application consisting of short answer questions, writing samples, letters of recommendation, and family information in the Spring of your 9th grade year.  All applications (both the student and parent forms, as well as 2 letters of recommendation) need to be submitted online by April 2018 for start in September 2018 (as a 10th grader).

After you submit all parts of your application, the top applicants will be asked to interview with Minds Matter of Denver’s Mentee Recruitment Team to further determine:

  • Do you Get what the program is and what you’ll be expected to achieve?
  • Do you really Want to join Minds Matter and make the commitment to increasing your options long-term?
  • Do you have the Capacity to meet the expectations and requirements of the program?

Selection: There are lot of highly competitive students who would like a chance to join our program, and we have a pool of dedicated and talented young adults who start in the fall. In most years, fewer than 50% of applicants are accepted to Minds Matter of Denver. But the good news is, many of the students who are accepted are similar to you in many ways.

If you’re a 9th grader from a low-income background with a 3.5 or higher GPA, and if you’re willing to put in the effort, you should apply! We’ll let you know about acceptance no later than the end of the school year.


If you’re accepted, you’ll start the program in the fall of 10th grade, spending three years in the program. You’ll receive all of the following program benefits — at no cost to you or your family (ever!):

  • Weekly mentorship from (2) dedicated volunteer mentors
  • Paid tuition for summer programs at leading colleges & universities (in-state or out-of-state) after both 10th and 11th grade (anywhere from 1-8 weeks, typically 3-4)
  • Three years of weekly 3-hour college prep sessions, following a curriculum focused on:
    • Community Engagement & Relationship Building
    • Communication & Public Speaking
    • Writing & Critical Thinking
    • College & Career Readiness
    • Leadership & Identity
  • 40-50 hours of SAT prep from professionals
  • Individualized support applying to at least 10 colleges and 20 scholarships
  • Partnerships with certain colleges that streamline admission and financial aid for Minds Matter graduates


At Minds Matter, we look for students who:

  • Apply as a 9th grade student with a 3.5 or higher GPA
  • Maintain a 3.25 or higher GPA while enrolled in Minds Matter (10th-12th grade)
  • Qualify for the free/reduced lunch program
  • Are committed to pursuing a college education
  • Demonstrate strong academic potential, motivation, maturity, and responsibility


Sessions for the 2018-19 school year are currently scheduled to take place on Monday evenings from 6:00-8:30pm throughout the school year at the following locations:

  • West High School
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College
  • George Washington High School

There are approximately 25 sessions each year.

If you’re accepted, you are expected to:

  • Make a 3-year commitment to Minds Matter
  • Attend 90% of the 25 weekly sessions throughout the school year – this means only 2 or fewer pre-notified (more than 24 hours before session), excused absences per year!
  • Complete all assignments covered during session
    • This may require 2-4 hours of additional work between sessions
    • Makeup work will be required for any missed sessions
  • Apply to and attend a summer program on a college campus after both 10th and 11th grade (anywhere from 1-8 weeks, typically 3-4)
  • Apply to at least 10 colleges and 20 scholarships

For any questions, please email


If you’re ready to apply, you’ll need to complete and submit all of the application forms below. Applications consists of student and family information, writing samples, and two letters of recommendation.



    • You can save your progress and come back to the application later by clicking the “Save and Resume Later” button at the bottom of any page.
      • You will be asked to provide an email address and will be sent a link to access your saved application.
      • This is the ONLY way to save your progress; if you start filling out the application and leave without saving, you will have to start over.
    • We highly recommend that you type your responses to the Short Answer and Essay questions in Microsoft Word, then copy and paste into the application. A copy of these questions in Microsoft Word is available below.
    • For the parent/guardian form and letters of recommendation – please copy the links below and send each form to the adult who needs to fill it out as soon as possible.
      • The Academic Reference should be completed by an adult who knows you well in a school setting, such as a teacher, counselor, or tutor.
      • The Character & Leadership Reference should be completed by an adult who knows you well outside of the classroom, such as an athletic coach, club sponsor, church leader, or friend’s parent.

Student Application

Parent/Guardian Form

Academic Reference

Character & Leadership Reference

To download a copy of the Short Answer and Essay Questions in Microsoft Word, please click HERE and select File >> Download as… >> Microsoft Word (.docx)

Please note: this document is intended for drafting and saving your responses to the Short Answer and Essay questions. You will then need to copy and paste your responses into the Student Application.