SPRINT30 PORTFOLIO

AspireHigher

AspireHigher is an affordable platform providing first-generation students with a comprehensive range of resources, including scholarships, career advice, test prep, and mentorship, aimed at leveling the playing field and advancing their careers.

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Problem Space 

Problem Statement  

First-generation students often lack access to high-quality career advice, preparation, and resources because only 5% of Black and Latino people born into poverty will ever earn a six-figure salary or reach senior leadership positions due to limited knowledge of post-college career paths, exposure to corporate culture, or a professional network that opens doors.

Problem Background  

High school and college students from underprivileged communities often struggle to access resources and guidance on securing their dream internships and building vital connections. Although the information is available, it can be daunting to know where to start, and their peers are frequently just as uncertain. These students face competition from peers who benefit from the legacy and experience of educated parents, creating an expectation of success based on parental guidance. In contrast, first-generation students frequently learn through trial and error as they discover the right resources. 

Research Insights

User Pain Points

Using platforms such as Discord, Instagram and LinkedIn, I was able to receive insights into what the experience for first-generation students is like navigating the educational route and career.

Supporting Data/ Feedback

My user research on first-generation students showed me that many of them aspire to have careers in the fields of Consulting, STEM, Education and Social Governance. However, I have found that having professional networks to support in their career growth is vital whether it be through career advice meetings or letters of recommendations. Based on the users that were surveyed, about 63% reported having **three or more** such connections, indicating a robust professional network. 37% reported having **fewer than three** connections, suggesting a limited professional network. The data underscores the value of building a strong professional network during college to aid career development and advancement after graduation.

Feedback

My preliminary research on validating the experience of first-generation students found that having a support network is imperative to academic and career success. Understanding the requirements to get into these internships and scholarships can be a daunting task, which is why having a cohesive platform that creates a game plan for how to approach them is crucial. 

Landing on the Solution 

The goal of AspireHigher is to empower first-generation students by providing them with comprehensive support in career advice, academic preparation, and essential resources. By offering personalized mentorship, academic resources, and a strong community network, AspireHigher aims to bridge the gap in opportunities and ensure these students achieve their educational and career aspirations. Ultimately, it seeks to create a supportive environment that fosters success and confidence for first-generation students.

Explanation of Solution 

1. Personalized Career Mentorship Program: This feature matches first-generation students with experienced professionals in their desired career fields for one-on-one mentorship. It includes profile matching, virtual mentorship sessions, and career workshops. This personalized guidance helps students gain real-world insights, build networks, and receive tailored advice to achieve their career goals.

2. Academic Preparation Hub: This comprehensive resource center offers study guides, tutoring services, and skill-building courses. It helps students improve their academic performance by providing access to subject-specific resources and on-demand tutoring. The skill-building courses focus on essential academic skills, enhancing students' confidence and capabilities.

3. Resource and Scholarship Finder: This section helps students discover scholarships, financial aid, and essential resources. It includes a searchable scholarship database, financial aid application guides, and a directory of additional support services. This feature aims to reduce the financial burden of education and increase access to vital resources for first-generation students.

4. Community and Peer Support Network: This social feature connects first-generation students with each other for support and collaboration. It includes discussion forums, virtual study groups, and an events calendar for networking and social interactions. By fostering a sense of community and encouraging peer-to-peer support, it helps students build relationships and share experiences.

User Flows/Mockups

User-Flow

1. Home Screen

Options:

  - Career Mentorship

  - Academic Preparation Hub

  - Resource and Scholarship Finder

  - Community and Peer Support Network

 2. Career Mentorship

Steps:

  1. Create Profile: Fill out a profile with academic interests and career goals.

  2. Mentor Matching: View a list of matched mentors.

  3. Schedule Session: Book a virtual mentorship session.

  4. Attend Workshop: Join virtual career workshops.

3. Academic Preparation Hub

Steps:

  1. Select Subject: Choose a subject to view resources.

  2. Access Study Guides:Download or view study guides and sample exams.

  3. Request Tutoring:Book a session with a tutor.

  4. Enroll in Courses: Sign up for skill-building courses.

4. Resource and Scholarship Finder

Steps

  1. Search Scholarships: Use filters to search for scholarships.

  2. View Financial Aid Guides: Access guides for applying to financial aid.

  3. Browse Resources: Explore the directory of support resources.

5. Community and Peer Support Network

Steps:

  1. Join Forums: Participate in discussion forums.

  2. Create/Join Study Groups: Set up or join study groups.

  3. View Events Calendar: Check the calendar for upcoming events.

Future Steps

I plan to leverage my experience from this project to develop a new product with a team of designers and engineers. In the future, if I have the time and resources, I am eager to fully execute this vision. It is a product I would greatly enjoy developing and bringing to life.

Learnings

Product Manager Learnings:

Carlos Cabrera

Learned the importance of focusing on the problem and user

Designer Learnings:

Developer Learnings:

Developers Learnings:

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Full Team Learning