A unique ‘matchmaking’ platform is trying to match students with their “perfect mentor”. Started by two architecture graduates from Chennai — Rohit Raheja and Sachit Dugar, Mentor Match is an online platform to help students from Class 3 through Class 10, so that they do not have to study alone.
“While schools and tuition classes are teaching students their lessons, they may not be helping them study. The studying part happens at home after these classes. Mentor Match helps students between classes 3 to 12, to find a study buddy who is a college student or graduate to help them right from understanding concepts to studying their lessons. Unlike conventional tuitions, here students learn from peers who have found innovative ways to learn the same concepts,” says Rohit, the founder of Mentor Match.
Of Mentors, Marks and Marvels
The idea to launch Mentor Match came to Rohit last year, in January 2020, when he noticed a classmate’s sister struggling to prepare for her 10th board exams.
“Her mother was complaining about how she had spent large sums of money to enrol her daughter for tuitions but her grades did not improve. I suggested that a friend of mine, who was studying architecture, help her with lessons and guide her while studying. Her mother was reluctant at first but agreed to try the new method. After two months of studying in this manner, her grades in preliminary exams improved from 60% to 94%,” says Rohit.
Not only did his friend’s sister’s grades improve, but also the mentor, a college student was happy to have earned a little money on the side through this teaching gig.
It was then that Rohit decided to launch this initiative on a larger scale. After explaining the idea to his batchmate, Sachit Dugar, the duo decided to perfect a system and launch the startup. In November 2020, they launched a trial session to test the same teaching pattern with five students who were close friends and family members.
“Within one month, their grades started to improve and the five were more keen on studying their lessons. Through word of mouth, more students started approaching us and by the end of December, we had onboarded 53 students and had enquiries from 100 mentors,” says Rohit, adding that there are mentors from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Christ College, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Measi Academy of Architecture, among others.
Tanveer Singh, a Class 10 student from Chennai’s Sishya school, joined the Mentor Match programme one month ago. Though he attends tuitions for subjects such as Physics and Mathematics, he decided to take help for Biology, Chemistry and Geography from a mentor.
“These are subjects that I have trouble remembering. I usually learn the topics just a day before the exam so that I don’t forget them. But, after I started learning this along with my mentor, an architecture graduate, I was able to understand the lessons better. He created new patterns to study the lessons and helped me remember new concepts using keywords,” says Tanveer, adding, “Earlier, for my revision exams which are graded out of 40 marks, I would score an average of 20-25. Now my scores are above 33 and the highest I scored was 37.”
The duo have a 19-member team that has helped them develop a website, curate orientation programmes, and create awareness about their initiative on social media.
How does it work?
On Mentor Match, mentors and mentees can currently register through their official website.
For mentors, once the team receives the application form, it will be reviewed and they will undergo a telephonic interview to understand their communication skills. To test their academic competence, an aptitude test will be administered.
Based on this and their previous academic experience, Mentor Match will decide which subjects the mentor is eligible to teach. Apart from this, during the interview process, Mentor Match also collects details about the mentor’s personal interests and hobbies which is then used as a metric to match with a student.
“Each mentor is given one mentee and they can teach a maximum of three subjects. Apart from being well-versed in the concepts, the mentor should also be good with their communication skills because they have to create a good rapport with their student and help them study their lessons,” says Rohit.
The students who wish to enrol on the platform, also have to fill a form here. They will receive one week of online trial classes, after which they can decide if they wish to continue.
“If they wish to continue, the classes are priced at Rs 250/ hour and the students can decide how many classes they want in one month, Rohit says, without disclosing their business model and the earnings of each mentor.
He further adds, “Initially, we collect half the money, and once all the sessions are completed, the balance payment can be made. The mentor is also paid in the beginning and at the end of the sessions.”
While the classes are currently conducted online over video calls, if a student wishes to have physical classes, that can be arranged if the mentor agrees too.
If you wish to register as a mentor or mentee you can do so here.
Edited by Yoshita Rao