About Avanti

Avanti Fellows is a not-for-profit organization founded in December 2009 in Mumbai India. The Avanti Fellows program supports underprivileged students with coaching for competitive exams, mentorship and financial aid through their high school and undergraduate education. In June 2010, the first Avanti Fellows (Grade X students at coaching classes and current students at IIT Bombay) will be paired with mentors and provided necessary financial aid. Over the next year, Avanti will study the progress our fellows make and work to refine and improve the student mentor interactions. Over the next two years, we aim to expand the reach of the Avanti Fellows program across the IITs and beyond.

Avanti's mission is to ensure that bright and motivated high-school students from poor homes have access to a top quality undergraduate education and the means to leverage this education to its greatest potential

At the beginning of Grade XI, each Avanti Fellow is paired with a dedicated mentor and enrolled in a partnering coaching class. Avanti Mentors guide fellows through entrance exam preparation, help coordinate financial aid and act as guides and sounding boards through the student’s transition from high school to professional life. A mentor-fellow relationship can last up to six years. Mentors play an important role in measuring student performance and assessing educational, emotional and financial needs. Mentors also help provide continual feedback, helping the program improve each year.

Student mentor interactions are facilitated by Avanti’s online mentorship platform. The platform records student-mentor conversations, logs reports and helps track academic performance. The platform is critical to monitoring the quality and frequency of mentor-fellow interactions. Additionally, the platform allows Avanti Fellows to reach out to a larger network of advisors that include alumni and prominent members of the industry and academia.

Avanti Mentor programs are student run. Avanti fellows are assigned to Avanti Core Teams (ACTs) at the closest participating undergraduate institute. ACTs are volunteer organizations at each institute involving professors, students and alumni. Avanti works with the ACTs to manage alumni outreach, mentor recruitment and fundraising for all associated fellows. ACTs work with the institute alumni organization to cover the financial expenses of fellows through a combination of alumni funded fellowships and low-interest loans.

The ACT operating model allows Avanti to minimize overheads and create a sense of belonging and ownership among current students directed towards improving the lives of those less privileged than them. ACTs make Avanti’s business model scalable and sustainable.

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