CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – Applying to college can be a daunting task. If you’re a first-generation college student, it can be overwhelming. U of I students said they want to help make it easier.

It’s called Uchange scholars. It’s a mentoring organization that specifically helps high school students from under-represented backgrounds.

That includes first-generation college students, minority groups, and those from low-socioeconomic backgrounds.

They’re partnered with current college students for one-on-one assistance when it comes to the application and decision-making process.

We talked to a mentor and their mentee today. They said the program has changed their lives.

“This program really, I want to say changed my academic future. This program really gave me so many opportunities I would not have had college wise,” Sharon Mendoza, the mentee, said.

“Seeing the growth that the mentees experience. Seeing Sharon at the beginning of the mentorship, all the way to now, it’s just amazing and astonishing,” Jameel Kaddo, her mentor, said.

The program was founded in 2019, but one co-founder said the students who have been involved have been accepted to more than 75 colleges.

Leaders are recruiting students right now. If you are or you know of a high school junior who is about to start the college application process, you could get help. You can visit their website here or fill out the interest form here.