for mentors

Helping prospective students prepare for graduate school and create a competitive application involves making sure they understand all of the different components of the process. But academic culture is complicated and there are many nuances and lots of unwritten rules that are hard to explain and convey. Providing the actual stories of successful applicants can be one way to help communicate some of the complexity. In this section we provide a series of teaching cases that describe the educational trajectories of twelve graduate students with lived experience in foster care who gained admission to graduate and professional school programs. 

Teaching cases are primary teaching tools in the fields of management, education and public policy. They are used globally in university settings, professional development and executive education, and provide readers with a great wealth of insider knowledge about the “norms” and ‘cultures’ of organizations, institutions and business entities. The strength of case learning rests on the presentation of an actual issue in the real life of a person or organization.

These cases are about students who come from a background in foster care and still, despite incredible adversity, have been successful. The cases can be used by instructors of students in undergraduate support programs, are suitable for high school students in ILP classes, and can be given to individual mentees.

The cases follow a similar format to those found in schools of management. Each case presents a protagonist (the student) who is facing an issue that needs resolution and requires some thought. The case provides a brief section on each student’s experience in foster care but keeps this to a minimum as this is not the focus of the narrative. Each case provides information about an aspect of the graduate school application process or graduate school itself, as well as detailed descriptions of academic life.

Each case also has a guide that provides ideas about how it might be used in a classroom or instructional setting, but the cases can be used in any way that will help undergraduate students navigate university culture. These facilitator guides can be found in the Mentor Guides section.

teaching cases

These cases will help students understand some of the issues they might face when applying to graduate school. Each case starts with a dilemma that the student must solve and then proceeds to provide information about their academic career and educational trajectory. Students can consider how they might approach the problem and find a resolution.

mentor guides

These guides are companion pieces to the cases and can be used to jumpstart classroom discussions or mentoring conversations. They articulate the issues raised in each case and provide suggested ways to engage students about their aspirations for graduate school and their future careers. The guides share how the ‘protagonist’ resolved their dilemma.

We help California’s former foster youth apply to graduate programs and professional schools by providing the knowledge each applicant needs to create a competitive application and succeed.

MAPS is a California non-profit