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James M. Montoya Frosh & Transfer Scholars Program

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What is the James M. Montoya Frosh & Transfer Scholars Program?

The James M. Montoya Frosh & Transfer Scholars Program is a three-quarter program that helps incoming undergraduate students make a successful transition from high school to college by matching them with Stanford graduate student mentors and by offering workshops on essential life skills such as time-management, mindfulness techniques, financial literary and public speaking. By meeting with their mentors and attending the workshops, Montoya Scholars will learn how to navigate a mentor/mentee relationship, access campus resources and cultivate new academic and life skills by the end of the winter quarter. Many of our incoming students are the first in their family to attend college and thus they face unique challenges in making the transition to Stanford. For that reason, we have designed a program that ultimately aims to empower frosh and transfer students who are Latino or from other diverse backgrounds to be more Reflective, Resourceful and Resilient so that they can successfully bounce back from the mistakes and failures that are part of any educational journey. These three Rs serve as our program’s motto and they also remind students that the key to being a successful student at Stanford is to enjoy the entire learning process instead of solely focusing on achievement.

What past frosh and transfer students have said about the program

“Getting to know [my mentor] and getting his advice on various topics really helped crystallize the Frosh Scholars lessons for me while allowing me the opportunity to know someone who has travelled the undergraduate path and knows its ins and outs.”

“Every Stanford student comes in as a high-achieving high school student. The Frosh Scholars program transformed me into a high achieving college student.”

“If there’s one thing I learned from the workshops that will leave an everlasting imprint on me is that although you may not be the smartest or the best, you can be the best you that you can be and that there are people and resources out there who want to help you be that person. You just have to get out there and see for yourself.”

What mentors have said about the program

“I think the biggest benefit [of the program] for myself was seeing someone who has experienced similar circumstances as myself and feeling that I now had the perspective to offer useful advice on how to cope and thrive here at Stanford.”

“[The Frosh Scholars Program] made me realize how far I've come since I was their age, and hopefully, they were able to see what is possible for them after finishing undergraduate studies.”

“The program was perfect! Wouldn't change a thing.”

Who is James M. Montoya?

Chief of Membership, Governance, and Global Higher Education and Secretary of the Corporation at The College Board  
Former, Vice President at The College Board  
Former (First and only Latine) Vice Provost for Student Affairs at Stanford University  
Former (First and only Latine) Dean of Admission at Stanford University   

James M. Montoya, or Jim Montoya as he is affectionately referred to, is best known for his work in creating greater educational opportunity and access for students nationally and internationally. He is a trailblazer in the educational arena as the youngest head of admissions at a leading liberal arts college; the first minority head of admission at an Ivy League and Sisters institution; and, the first Latino Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Stanford University, where he also served as Vice Provost for Student Affairs. Mr. Montoya currently serves as the Chief of Membership, Governance, and Global Higher Education at the College Board in New York City.     

A native of San Jose, James Montoya earned a bachelor's degree with academic distinction from Stanford in 1975 and a master's degree in Administration and Policy Analysis from the Stanford School of Education. At his undergraduate commencement, James Montoya received the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award in recognition of his scholarly attainments and his outstanding contributions to undergraduate education at Stanford.     

An active Stanford alumnus, Mr. Montoya has served on the Board  of the Stanford Alumni Association, the Stanford Athletics Board, and as a lecturer through the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. He currently serves on the Stanford Graduate School of Education Advisory Council.