Walking around Costco buying groceries, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to create a website providing college-going information. Something that all students could find useful, particularly first-generation, students of color from communities with the low educational attainment rates.
Not sure what this site would look like, or if it would ever move from being an idea to an actual resource. Hope it will, that’s why I’m putting it out there. If it was created it would focus on four aspects: Get Inspired, Get Informed, Get Connected, Get Money!
- Get Inspired (College Aspiration Building):
This section would be about the value of education. Throwing it back to the days were it was believed that education was the great equalizer. When education was viewed has the greatest institution of social transformation. It would build the aspiration of students through a variety of ways
- Get Informed (College Knowledge):
We are not underachievers. We do not undervalue education. This section and the entire site would be viewed from the Community Cultural Wealth or (Cultural Integrity) lens. Much of the research shows us who we are not and what we have lacked in achieving. We have experiences that provide a certain cultural capital, resiliency, and work ethic, but we need to build on it. Get informed is about providing the college knowledge. Sharing the necessary steps to be a strong college-bound student. Anything from discussing A-G requirements, tuition discounting, and institutional fit.
- Get Connected (Peer Group Support & Mentorship):
They say it takes a village to raise a child, so what is necessary to help a student go to college? This is were the peer motivation comes. Connecting students to community-based organizations like Fulfillment fund, 100 Black men, and many more. Share how to interact and work with university representatives. Expose college-bound students to the dedicated student initiated outreach groups that exist on numerous campuses. Helping students with academic and social integration. By getting connected we building self-advocacy/efficacy amongst these students. Its a struggle when you think you are doing it alone. But the truth is you’re not. I know hundreds of people who are dedicated to making a difference and help students go to college. This section is most important in showing the power of humanity. How we can make together to make a difference.
- Get Money (Financial Literacy, Scholarships, and College Affordability):
I’ve seen to many students have to drop-out, not because of grades or lack of sense of belonging, but strictly due to financial reasons. We need to do a better job of promoting all the financial resources available to students. Ranging from fee waivers for SAT/College Apps to how to get a work-study position on campus. This section, in my mind has Wu-Tang playing in the background. The section would provide detailed information on the FAFSA, Tuition Price vs actual Cost of Attendance, Scholarship databases like Zinch and everything else under the sun.
- Get Counseling (Free College Counseling via Skype):
“Face time” with a college counselor is extremely important and can be a way to differentiate our project. This would be an opportunity to collaborate with people committeed to improve access and college-going culture. It can be as simple as a college counseling sessions via skype/google hangout. Thinking short-term, it would be a one-time academic intervention. Allowing students to free access to admissions/outreach counselors. As the project develops, keeping sustained-relationships with students would be key. Can this be done? I’m looking at Unigo, but thinking free! (http://www.unigo.com/getting-in)
It would also be great to add a “thrive” section. Discussing the various opportunities once you’ve been accepted. Talking about summer bridge programs, TRIO programs, student involvement opportunities, how to connect with caring professors, and much more. Making sure students build a connection to the university. This section would also included a Pay it forward blurb about going back to your hometown and talking to students about going to college and helping move your community forward.
That’s pretty much my idea for a website/online resource. Let me know what you think. I would love other peoples perspective.
“I never had much faith in leaders. I am willing to be charged with almost anything, rather than to be charged with being a leader. I am suspicious of leaders, and especially of the intellectual variety. Give me the rank and file every day in the week. If you go to the city of Washington, and you examine the pages of the Congressional Directory, you will find that almost all of those corporation lawyers and cowardly politicians, members of Congress, and misrepresentatives of the masses — you will find that almost all of them claim, in glowing terms, that they have risen from the ranks to places of eminence and distinction. I am very glad I cannot make that claim for myself. I would be ashamed to admit that I had risen from the ranks. When I rise it will be with the ranks, and not from the ranks.” Eugene V. Debs