This is good news for anyone who is at home, online, and feeling helpless.

ScholarMatch, a college-access organization we love, needs virtual coaches. You can do this from wherever you are, and the impact will reverberate for generations.

ScholarMatch shares a building with McSweeney’s and Voice of Witness, and is across the street from 826 Valencia. We started ScholarMatch because we noticed a troubling inequity among our students at 826 Valencia. Those whose parents had attended college were far more prepared and informed about their college options, financial obligations, and loan and grant opportunities than those who would be the first in their families to attend.

I taught a high school class for eleven years called the Best American Nonrequired Reading, and wrote about a hundred college recs over those years. The students whose parents were knowledgeable about the process had far more opportunities, more financial savvy, and more resources to weather the slings and arrows of college and get their degrees. ScholarMatch was created to level the playing field.

Nationally, the graduation rate for students who are the first in their family to go to college is 21%. That’s after they get into college and attend.

Among all college students, from all income levels, the national college graduation rate is 60%.

The graduation rate among ScholarMatch students is 82%.

That’s 22 points higher than the national average for all college students. And almost 60 points higher than the average for first-in-their-family, low-income students.

The difference is the brilliant staff at ScholarMatch. And the difference is people like you. Advocates. Coaches. A relentless network of support.

The staff and volunteers at ScholarMatch are tireless cheerleaders for their students. They help them with college essays, SATs, FAFSAs and financial aid plans. And then help them not only get into college, but through. They start when the students are sophomores and juniors in high school, and they don’t let up until these students have graduated and have started their first job.

These students need a support network to make it through rough patches. To answer thorny questions. To explain tricky financial documents. To advocate for them when there are administrative issues. Sometimes just to tell them they can’t quit.

That 82% graduation rate is stunning. But it’s possible with your help.

So if you’re at home, and on your screens much of the day anyway, why not be a stalwart and optimistic face and voice for a student who beat the odds to get into college, and now only needs to stick to the plan, start college in the fall, and get through?

Right now hundreds of thousands of high school students have been accepted to colleges but are wondering if they should go. Their parents have, in so many cases, lost their jobs. These students feel like they need to contribute to the household income — somehow. College seems like a luxury their families can’t afford.

But if they stay the course, the rewards, for their families and generations after, will be enormous. Statistically, a college graduate will, over the course of their careers, earn at least one million dollars more than their peers without a degree. And if they graduate, their siblings, sons, daughters and grandchildren all will be more likely to attend and graduate college.

Right now we’re recruiting volunteers to help in two primary ways:

1. Be a College Coach

As a college coach, you’ll interact regularly with a high school junior or senior. For the seniors, you’ll provide encouragement as they get ready to attend college in the fall. For juniors, you’ll be getting them ready for the application process in the fall — from essays to SATs to their list of college to which they’ll apply.

No, you don’t need a master’s in college counseling. Yes, ScholarMatch will train you.

Complete the interest form after reviewing the opportunity on our website. After you submit the interest form, you’ll receive additional information and an invitation to begin our online training within the next week.

2. Be a Virtual Career Coach

This is a newer program, more necessary than ever. Here you’ll work primarily with college upperclassmen, advising them about career options. You’ll be paired with a student who hopes to enter your own career field, so your knowledge will be surgical and invaluable.

Volunteers can elect to support students as a one-off engagement, or more consistently with career-building skills such as resume reviews, interview prep, and informational interviews. Complete your Virtual Career Coach Interest Form and upload your Career Profile today.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email

3. If you can’t volunteer, consider making a donation. You can do so at

And if you want to buy drawings I do to help raise money for ScholarMatch, look here.

Thanks for reading this, my friends. Hope you can take part in some way.