The University of Washington’s Dream Project assists low-income and first-generation high school students in attaining higher education and to raise awareness among university students about the issues of educational opportunity and social mobility.
UW students participate in a class and are trained to assist area high school students in pursuing higher education. Dream Project mentors meet three times a week — once as an entire class, once by high school groups (both are part of the UW course) and once with their high school group at their assigned high school to work with the students.
In this video, we feature four UW students serving as mentors to get their perspectives on what students need to do be better prepared for college and career, and what they wish they would’ve known when they were in high school.
Below, read more about the UW Dream Project’s mission and values:
We believe that every student has the right to higher education.
Poverty, familial background, and access to resources should not preclude any student from accessing higher education. We work closely with our high school Dream Scholars to help them overcome adversities and to achieve the highest level of education in order to reach their dreams. Higher education includes technical colleges, community colleges, four-year colleges and universities.
We believe in the power of education to inspire empathy.
Through learning about and discussing issues of social inequality and access to education, undergraduate Dream Team mentors develop the communication skills necessary for open dialogue with others from different backgrounds. Through shared experiences and stories, we strive to create stronger relationships with our Dream Scholars knowing that we can learn from them as much as they can learn from us
We believe in providing vehicles for student leadership and engagement.
College students become critical thinkers by developing creative solutions to complex problems. Students in the Dream Project run the day-to-day operations of the program and maintain relationships with donors and community partners. Students have real power to affect change in the organization and the greater community by holding various positions of leadership.
We believe that we are one part of a larger effort and collaboration is critical to our success.
We see ourselves as serving only one part of the P-20 continuum; therefore, we coordinate our efforts with schools, community organizations, colleges and universities to maximize student achievement. We work closely with administrators, families, and partner programs to tailor our efforts to the needs of the students at each high school.
We believe in the impact of meaningful student-to-student relationships.
Dream Project mentors, all of whom went through the college admissions process just a few years earlier, develop interpersonal relationships with our Dream Scholars in order to establish trust and to foster long-lasting friendships. We create a “community-in-waiting” for them on the college campus that will support them throughout their higher education experience.