The student news site of Adlai E. Stevenson High School


The student news site of Adlai E. Stevenson High School


The student news site of Adlai E. Stevenson High School



Freshman Mentor Program reflects on notable club application process
Camden Wright
A student in the ILC fills out a written club application. Many clubs use applications in order to determine their executive boards, or admit students to the clubs.

Time and passion invested into personal essays and videos. Stress and preparation for just a 15 minute interview. All coming down to a moment of either acceptance or rejection. In 2023, 320 students applied to the Freshmen Mentor Program (FMP), and about 110 were accepted. In 2024, 390 applied and 124 were accepted, a three percentage point drop in acceptance. Unfortunately for many students, rejection was not unusual, but rather the norm in this competitive application process was.

While many of Stevenson’s clubs and extracurricular activities are open to all interested students, some activities such as FMP, Peer Tutors, Peer Helpers, and others do not feature open membership. Instead, they require students to partake in a selective application process for the limited number of spots available. Many Stevenson students spend much of their time on clubs and extracurriculars, and competitive, stressful application processes for certain clubs is a byproduct of the club-centered culture.

“It’s important to have an application process for clubs like FMP because we want to make sure that mentors are the right fit for the program, making sure they have genuine passion, and leadership skills to be able to lead freshmen daily,” Romy Clorfene ’24, a member of FMP E-Board said. “When FMP selects its mentors, we try to focus specifically on selecting students who care about bettering the freshman experience.”

By nature of this application process, many hopeful students each year are denied the opportunity to participate in the program. According to the Student Activities office, 93% of students join a co-curricular activity throughout their four years at Stevenson, and Student Activities emphasizes that the over 140 different clubs available provide numerous opportunities to get involved. FMP Coordinator Micheal Martinez addresses this disconnect as an unfortunate but necessary part of an important selection process.

“We understand it’s a very competitive process, but as a club of mentors, we want to [ensure] that we are providing our freshmen the best role models possible,” Martinez said. “Unlike many schools, we have a lot of opportunities for people that want to serve outside of FMP, and we provide all students not invited to FMP with a list of other service and leadership opportunities.”

Options for students still interested in pursuing service and leadership outside of FMP include Student Ambassadors and Peer Helpers among others. Although Stevenson has a large number of options for students, that doesn’t mitigate the fact that year after year, students have to deal with rejection.

“I’ve noticed students who get rejected may contact the sponsor hoping to get feedback, or even ask for another chance,” Clorfene said. “My advice is to not let a rejection have a huge effect on you. Just because someone was rejected from a program like FMP doesn’t mean they aren’t a good leader or person, it’s that it can unfortunately just be super competitive.”

Students rejected from FMP their sophomore year still have the opportunity to reapply their junior year, which both Martinez and Clorfene recommend for students still passionate about building connections with and mentoring freshmen. When looking toward future classes of FMPs and challenging application cycles, Martinez encourages students to take on their ambitions while also remembering that rejection can also be an opportunity to grow from adversity.

“We are looking for engaging, enthusiastic, and dynamic young people that want to serve, give back and help freshmen have the best experience and build connections,” Martinez said. “If you’re somebody that’s passionate about that, we would love for you to apply, but we also want you to remember that adversity and rejection are part of life, and the strongest leaders are able to grow in the face of challenges.”

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