About Our Program

Press Pass Mentors pairs professional journalists with low-income high school juniors and seniors to help them become great writers, equipping students with the communication skills necessary to succeed in college and beyond. 

We are a not-for-profit organization built on the belief that good writing provides a pathway to college and that college is the gateway to a world of opportunity. Students enter our 18-month mentoring program in the fall of their junior year of high school and stay with us through graduation. At the end of their time in our program, they receive a financial scholarship to be used toward higher education.

All of our mentors are professional journalists eager to share their writing expertise through one-on-one relationships. They also lead each class of students on all-access field trips to the places they cover, like the White House, Congress and an NFL locker room. 

We currently operate in Washington, D.C., with 15 students from inner-city charter schools and mentors from the Washington Post.

Our program is based on four core components:

One-on-One Mentoring
  • Each student is paired with a professional writer.
  • Mentors meet with students at least every month and talk to them a minimum of once a week.
  • Mentors focus on helping students with high school assignments, preparation for the SAT, college applications and scholarship essays.
Experiential Learning
  • Students participate in 10 events during the program.
  • Mentors leverage their unique access as journalists to lead field trips to places like Congress, the White House, a college admissions office and an NFL locker room.
  • College admissions experts attend some events to answer questions and guide students through the application process.
Writing Practice
  • After each field trip, students complete a program-specific writing assignment and edit it with their mentors.
  • The timing of these assignments purposely coincides with where the students are on the path to college, ie: persuasive essays to help prepare for the SAT; personal statements to assist with college applications; and research papers to get ready for college writing.
Financial Scholarships
  • Students who complete the program receive a $2,000 scholarship toward their higher education costs.