Become a Minds Matter Houston Student


Beginning in their sophomore year of high school, our students spend 4-6 hours per week during the school year in Minds Matter sessions with their volunteer mentors and instructors. Our sophomore program centers on cultivating the math and writing/critical thinking skills that are the foundation of our students’ academic success. In the junior program, students work with their mentors on test preparation for the SAT and ACT standardized exams. During the summers after their sophomore and junior year, students attend summer enrichment programs at prep schools, colleges, and universities across the country and around the world. In the senior program, students work closely with their mentors on personal statements, financial aid forms, financial literacy, and navigating the college application process. Our volunteers guide seniors through college selection, helping students determine what school and area of study might be the best fit for them.

Throughout the program, students gain confidence and ambition, strengthen their skills in writing, critical thinking, test-taking, and mathematics, and flourish into young adults who are ready and excited to succeed in college. Minds Matter proudly boasts a 100% success rate for students’ acceptance into four-year colleges and universities.

Test Preparation

Unlike costly test prep courses, Minds Matter provides students with free access to trained teachers, a structured curriculum, extensive study materials, and individual attention.

Sophomores and Juniors are grouped into teams based on individual development needs, and each team receives coaching from a volunteer Test Prep Instructor. The 17-week curriculum familiarizes sophomores, juniors, and seniors with the PSAT and ACT, provides test-taking strategies, refreshes basic skills, and provides several diagnostic exams to identify student strengths and areas of opportunity. When students return as seniors, they are given a refresher course to prepare them for their final opportunity to improve their scores in the December SAT.

Our program is based on methods developed by Kaplan. Our Minds Matter students consistently see score improvements equal to or higher than gains by students in "for-profit" prep courses, which often cost more than $1,000 per student.

Essay Composition

Essay Composition develops students’ critical reading and listening skills, capacity for self-reflection, and confidence with language. Mentors help identify mentees’ writing strengths and weaknesses . By the end of the program, students produce a personal essay which serves as a strong foundation for college admissions essays.

Writing & Critical Thinking

Reognizing that students have different levels of writing skills, our Writing & Critical Thinking program gives dedicated attention in a 2-on-1 setting and in small groups. We integrate this learning with the process of applying for summer programs.

What’s Going On In The World?

“What’s Going On In The World” exposes students to current events, encourages group discussion, and practices public speaking skills. Each student presents a pre-selected news article to his or her team and leads a discussion centered on that article. The same news topic is explored for a 3- or 4-week cycle to increase students’ familiarity with each topic and increase their confidence during discussion. In the final week, students argue one or the other side of the issue and engage in a debate with their peers.

If you have Minds Matter potential, we'd love to meet you!