So naturally, I wanted to try it out.
I’m 50% of the way through the course (week 3 out of 6) and so far, as someone with experience on both sides of the desk, I haven’t really had any “aha” moments yet. What I have learned, however, are some amazing resources available online that I’m eager to share with our students. Here are some of my favorites:
Pell Abacus– Pell Abacus is a free search site that helps students get financial aid estimates directly from schools. Search multiple schools and compare in one place, before you even apply. Read more about financial aid in my previous post, here.
Raise.Me– A website that works with Micro-scholarships from colleges. Essentially, it lets students see how small things they do in HS (from earning an A to being in a drama production) can earn them money in college. Not all schools participate, but its a great way to start younger students thinking about involvement as a form of investment. We’ve introduced Raise.Me to students before, but I think we can do a better job building it in to our program.
College Scorecard– This is a DoE product that I’ve heard talked about a lot, but haven’t actually used before. It is a one-stop-shop that lets families compare average test scores, debt amounts, starting salaries, graduation rates, and more. A terrific resource!
How to Fill Out the FAFSA step by step video from UCSB. This will be something I share with parents every October as the FAFSA launches.
This awesome Quizlet deck of 62 terms for the college application process. I’m absolutely going to figure out a way to use this with our students. The opportunity to gamify the often daunting admission vocabulary is so exciting.
Dean Furda’s blog, p.217 has also been a great resource. One of the assignments last week was to read a post on the 5 Is of self-assessment in the college process:
- Identity: How do you see yourself and how do others see you?
- Intellect: How do you think and approach the acquisition of knowledge?
- Ideas: What do you think and why?
- Interests: What do you choose to do when you have the time and flexibility?
- Inspiration: What really motivates you?
Then, we had to write about how those could’ve applied to our own college search and self reflection. Here was my submission:
Growing up in an Italian household, it was inevitable that I’d learn to talk not only through words but also through my hands. Things that I can touch, that I can reach out for, or that I can raise my hands up in excitement about– those are the things that really inspire me. As I’ve experienced all sorts of leaning environments throughout the years, I’ve found that I think the most deeply when I can connect the concept I’m learning to a person that I can reach out and touch. Someone I know. Someone I’ve connected with. It could be having a live back and forth in a small group over a topic in a classroom. It could someone I met at a restaurant, who I took the time to learn part of their story, that suddenly makes that event I learned about in history class come to life. Topics with personal connections are seared into my psyche, yet things memorized for a test are immediately lost to me. For that reason, inspiration and intellect have an unavoidable intersection in my college choice. As I think about what type of college or major would best suit me, I know that it is important to me to be in a highly personal setting with smaller class sizes and a focus on real work outside of the classroom. A major that helps build the tools of connection within me would be a tremendous asset, because I feel strongly that I will go into a profession where I will need to interact at a deep level with all sorts of people. I’m thankful for my heritage and the inspiration it provides me– I’m particularly excited to find the college that fits me so well, my hands can’t help but shoot into the air with excitement.
It has been a really incredible exercise to go through this course like a student and to keep myself fresh on college admissions. I can’t wait for the next three weeks!
If you haven’t taken advantage of something like Coursera or a MOOC– I highly suggest it. That opportunity to continuously learn is a tremendous asset in any profession.