Paying it forward: a peer-staffed program for navigating college admissions

We speak with Michael Sanchez, executive director of Circle Match (formerly TCAT), a program that helps students in underserved high schools apply to colleges. Circle Match serves low income students, primarily of color, who are the first in their families to apply to college. Participants in turn assist classmates, thus creating a college-going culture and subsequently on-campus support. Circle Match students have been extraordinarily successful in gaining admission to elite colleges and universities.


00:00-00:43 Intros

00:43-02:14 Michael Sanchez’s own K-12 and college admission experiences

02:14-05:27 How these experiences influenced the concept of Circle Match

05:27-10:34 How Circle Match works

10:34-13:56 The people involved in Circle Match

13:56-15:46 Helping students with culture shock at Ivy league schools

15:46-18:54 Students’ responses to giant differences in wealth, income, expectations

18:54-21:10 Affinity groups of different types

21:10-23:36 Why Circle Match focuses on Ivies and other prestigious schools

23:36-26:21 Working with students who won’t get into Ivies

26:21-28:38 Making connections with other-than-Hispanic communities

28:38-30:22 Next schools to partner with

30:22-33:04 Communication with parents

33:04-34:07 Data on families

34:07-35:45 Admissions success rate

35:45-37:59 Going away to college as an issue for parents

37:59-40:55 Funding

40:55- Outro


Click here to see the full transcription of this episode. 


Click here to know more about Circle Match.

Soundtrack by Poddington Bear