Matthew Jones was at his high school track meet when he first learned about The Hidden Genius Project. He was not eligible to compete with his team until his grades improved. From the sidelines, his coach told him about the Immersion Program, and he was off and running from there.

During his time in the Intensive Immersion Program, Matthew identified a need for creating a better way to connect students with the right college for them. “I didn’t know what college I wanted to go to, but I figured I couldn’t be the only one having this problem.” So he designed an app that helps high school students find colleges based on their grades and other preferences, “like, whether they want to go to a big school or small school, or their SAT scores or GPA,” says Matthew. “The hardest part was getting all of the California Colleges and their minimum GPAs [required for admissions] entered into the system. There are a lot of colleges in California.”

In the following year, Matthew’s own college search criteria changed significantly as he brought up his grades and outpaced his high school track team GPA requirement. “Before I was a C student. After that, I got a 4.0 my senior year.”

After graduating, Matthew took advantage of the opportunity to return as a teaching assistant during a summer with The Hidden Genius Project. “It was cool, I actually learned more while teaching someone else how to do stuff.”

Now a Computer Science Major in his third year at California State University, East Bay, Matthew offers the following words to future Geniuses as they consider applying to the program: “The people you meet in your cohort, they’re like your brothers. You fight together, and you play together, and you learn a lot from each other.”

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