North Allegheny grad helping high schoolers transition to college
Like many students looking to earn a little spending cash while in college, 2016 North Allegheny graduate Gabe Ren could wait tables or work a cash register.
Instead, Ren turned the difficulties he encountered when applying to college into a job as a near-peer mentor for the company CollegeVine, where he assists high school students trying to get into college.
“My family moved here from China when I was 3 years old,” said Ren, a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia. “While they both work in academia, they were unfamiliar with the process involved in applying to American schools.”
Ren, 18, of Franklin Park, said while he was grateful for the help provided by North Allegheny’s high school guidance counselors, he realized “with around 700 students per grade, they were understandably swamped with many students applying to many different schools.”
Ren learned about the mentoring job from a friend who attends Duke and applied.
“I’ve always enjoyed working with people and felt being a mentor… was a job I could both be passionate about and be good at,” he said. “I immediately connected with CollegeVine’s mission of leveling the playing field of college admissions.”
In addition to the money he earns, Ren said assisting people who use CollegeVine’s services has given him the opportunity “to see students achieve things they didn’t previously think were possible.”
“This admissions cycle, I was working with a student who really wanted to go to the University of Michigan, but didn’t think he would get in,” Ren said. “When decisions came, he was accepted and it was genuinely a great feeling helping him showcase the best version of himself.”
Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-772-6368 or [email protected].