Published: 20th January 2021
This platform gets 'matching' college students to tutor your kids after school. Here's why they think it trumps tuitions
Mentor Match is a unique platform that provides school students with study buddies, who are college students, to help them prepare better
In January 2020, one of Rohit Raheja's friend's sister was having a tough time preparing for her 12th Board exams. Her mother had made all the efforts, subscribed to e-learning platforms and enrolled her in tuition classes. However, nothing seemed to improve her grades. "It was then that I suggested that she hire one of my friends, who was going through a rough patch financially, to help her daughter study much like she herself would do when her daughter was younger," says Rohit. In a month, the girl's grades improved drastically.
It was this incident that gave Rohit the idea to build a platform for study buddies called Mentor Match where he could match school students with college students and the latter would mentor the former, help them study, prepare for exams, all in a systematic manner. He soon contacted his friend, Sachit Dugar and the duo began working on establishing the platform in October. While they have been on trial for the last month and a half, they are officially launching on January 25.
Rohit Raheja and Sachit Dugar (Pic: Mentor Match)
Speaking about how the platform works, Rohit narrates, "When a school student enrols for a mentor, we ask them to fill a form that not only asks about the subjects they need help with but also about their interests. The same is done with a college student who enrols as a mentor. Based on their hobbies, interests and subject requirements, we match them." For example, Rohit says, a student who loves to play football and wants to get into IIT would be matched with an IIT-ian who also loves football.
Rohit and Sachit researched a lot before honing in on the study methods. They came upon the Feynman technique of learning and that is what they train their mentors to use
The mentor would need to visit the student's house for a few hours every week or help them study via online classes. "Not only does the school student benefit from someone who has just passed out of school and was once in their own shoes, but the mentors themselves have an opportunity to earn some money and become financially independent right from college," explains Rohit. "There are very few part-time jobs in India for college students. At Mentor Match, a college student can earn anywhere between Rs 3,000 a month for mentoring for 12 hours to Rs 30,000 a month for mentoring for 100 hours in a month," says Rohit.
A (make-believe) mentor and mentee studying (Pic: Mentor Match)
Rohit insists that they aren't curriculum-based but are based on study methods. "We have created a study plan that will help the student remember for a longer period of time. The parent also doesn't have to worry whether their child is studying or not. There is a planner, a special notebook where students are supposed to take notes and we also use techniques like mind mapping to help with retention," says Rohit, who graduated with a BArch degree from MEASI Academy of Architecture last year.
The relationship between the student and their mentor is also something that Rohit says helps them prepare better. "We are pairing them with someone from their own generation. It is more like a productivity buddy and a source of inspiration who not only helps them study but also helps them with other things. Recently, a student and his mentor went on a trek together. Another mentor took his mentee on a drive to explain the concept of aerodynamics," says Rohit.
All their mentors go through a 45-minute orientation programme, after which they have to appear for a test. Once they clear the test, they are fit to mentor school students
Mentor Match is a start-up that's completely run by students or recent graduates. "We are developing an app that will make the process more seamless and second-year engineering students are working on it," says Rohit. The platform currently has 53 school students using its services. Most of the mentors on the platform are from IIT Madras, SRM Insititute of Science and Technology, CHRIST, MOP Vaishnav College for Women, among others.