Uchange Scholars’s mission has always been to connect underrepresented high school students with college mentors to aid them through the college application process. We understand that many minority, financially burdened, and first generation students are unequally represented in American universities, and so our program aims to tackle these inequalities by offering mentoring services that will help bridge the gaps.
Uchange Scholars was founded in November 2019 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign at an entrepreneurship workshop called 3 Day Startup. Through the participation in social entrepreneurship programs including Cozad New Venture Challenge and Map the System 2020 Social Innovation Challenge, Uchange Scholars was accepted into the 6th cohort of iVenture, the educational accelerator for top student startups at the University of Illinois.
In August 2020, we launched our pilot program with the same initial goal of helping students from underrepresented backgrounds successfully navigate the college application process. Albeit successful, we decided to conduct more research, refine our marketing efforts, and then officially launch as a stronger and more credible organization.
Our second and third cohorts grew to 20+ mentees and mentors from across the country. These cohorts were similarly successful and our counseling and college essay-editing resources received glowing testimonials. Mentees were accepted to over 75 colleges, many of them top-20 schools.
In 2023, Uchange reorganized into a chapter-based program to streamline communication between the executive team and our mentors. Our fourth cohort will launch in July 2023 and mentors will be based at Brown University, Syracuse University, and the University of Virginia.