Our Goal

Bridge the Information Gap and Provide Guidance to Match Potential


Applying to schools as a first generation college student can be a daunting process. Some parts of your application are fixed. GPA and Test Scores will certainly be a large factor into your chance of admission. However, a bad essay will significantly hurt your chances. We see it time and time again. On the other hand, a good essay can reasonably increase your chances. Although there are no guarantees, we think that a good essay that brings out the interesting elements of your profile can greatly improve your outcome. 

Our mentoring team comprises of very qualified people who have walked in your shoes not too long ago. Additionally, we have beaten the odds to attend some of the most prestigious colleges in the US. The students who have worked with us in the past are, in large part, attending very reputable universities with substantial financial aid. Trust that our approach works. Partner with one of us as we navigate through this process together. If you are accepted for our Catalyst Scholarship, you will be automatically enrolled in our premiere mentoring program, the Hand-in-Hand Initiative.


Our Strategy

Our Three Pronged Approach to Empowerment


Career Counseling

The hard truth is that going to college without a defined career goal can lead to a bad investment. Before we even start the application, we make sure that each student has a clearly defined set of career goal(s) based on what they’ve done and what they want to do in their day to day. To do so, we connect every student with someone in our network who has real world experience in the student’s targeted field of study. In the past, we have even acquired elusive shadowing opportunities for our students.


College Selection Counseling

Picking a college or university to apply to is hard enough. Picking one that actually matches your profile is even harder. Catalyst for Achievement is challenging the undermatching problem, which translates into setting the bar higher when you apply. Our team will work with you to determine a college or university that not only meets your goals, but also is the most competitive institution your profile is statistically fits. We ask that you maintain an open mind - paying for college or university is filled with misinformation and we want the opportunity to bridge that gap in due time.


Application Guidance

It goes without saying that your essay is a critical component of your application. Collectively our team spends 30 hours, on average, on each student's essay. We start with getting to know each student's background and ambitions. With that information, we brainstorm a guideline for your essay. Students typically go through 2-3 revisions with us before we submit the final draft.

Scholarship Guidance

The dirty secret about colleges is that it is possible for most students to cover the majority of their tuition. It requires diligence and strategy. We can help you optimize your scholarship search. 80% of the students who have worked with us have received some form of financial aid.


The Catalyst Application

The Catalyst Scholarship and Hand-in-Hand Initiative


A student awarded a Catalyst Scholarship will have one undergraduate application fee of his or her choice paid in full by Catalyst for Achievement. All awardees are automatically enrolled in our Hand-in-Hand Initiative, our mentoring program for high school juniors and seniors.


Join Our Team

Become a Career Advisor or Mentor


Career advisors and mentors form the core of Catalyst for Achievement - they are the ones who make the execution of our mission possible. Our mentors meet the qualifications and vetting requirements set by Catalyst for Achievement and the State of Michigan - before you apply, please ensure you are able to meet these requirements. Remember, you don't have to be in the mitten to extend a mitten. Mentoring doesn't need to be face-to-face, it can and is strongly encouraged to be done remotely.


Become a Catalyst

Challenge the Undermatching Problem


Catalyst for Achievement is an independent, non-partisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. To execute our mission, we strive to use our funds as effectively as possible. No one within our organization is paid any compensation. Expenses are paid for by the Board of Directors, which allows for 100% of every dollar donated to go exclusively towards the Catalyst Scholarship and Hand-in-Hand Initiative.