Making the Best of College

As we have mentioned many times before, transitioning from high school to college is a big change for students. This can be intimidating, but it can also open up the door to self-improvement by being involved in campus activities and establishing new relationships with peers. Here are a few videos from students to students that can help incoming students make the best out of their college life.

Being involved:

Establishing new relationships:

Not only do these opportunities make college more fun and less stressful, they also help students grown and prepare them for a successful life after college!

Join us at World Future Forum for more research findings and best practices on Post-High School Challenges!

Increased Freedom

For most students, going to college also means moving out from their parents’ home. Being away from home means that their parents will no longer be able to “bug” them or tell them what to do. They will experience increased freedom, and this can be exciting and a bit intimidating at the same time. It is up to them to be disciplined enough to make personal decisions and choices that they never had to deal with before. Consequently, students can feel stressed, depressed or get easily distracted by other things instead of focusing on their education.

Two main areas students should focus on, especially during this time, are to be responsible and manage their time effectively. Being responsible is as simple as attending class and paying attention, not being afraid to ask questions, doing all assignments promptly, studying for exams and going to office hours if need be. Simple ways to improve time management can include creating a calendar with your schedule and assignment deadlines. This is a great way to complete school responsibilities and also allow time for self-care, relaxation, and socializing which is also very important.

The animated video below provides students with helpful tips on how to become more disciplined and making good choices.

Join us at World Future Forum for more research findings and best practices on Post-High School Challenges!

Background Information on Outcomes of High Schools

While there is little argument that college preparation in high school is imperative​, there is debate ​among scholars ​as to what extent high schools should prepare students for college and careers. In order to better understand this, we need to recognize current statistics associated with College and Career Outcomes of High Schools. Here is some information by YouthTruth that we should keep in mind.

As you can see, in the survey below, most high school students feel unprepared for college despite wanting to go. Additionally, students feel even more unprepared for careers.

So what can high schools do to change these numbers? In our next blog we will discuss programs that have been put in place to make a difference.

Join us at World Future Forum for more research findings and best practices on College and Career Outcomes of High Schools!

Academic, Social, and Financial Preparation

Academically preparing for college can put your students ahead of the game; however, it is important that they also understand how to prepare socially and financially as well. If a student is prepared academically, socially and financially, their college career will be much more manageable as all these factors work hand-in-hand. Here are a few tips for students. Click on the links (blue text) for helpful resources.

Students can academically prepare by learning how to take notes, improving their time management skills, getting organized and preparing to read very often. Many professors will provide an abundance of information in class or in readings so it can be overwhelming for unprepared students.

College is a very different social environment and this can be very stressful for some students, especially first-generation college students. The best way for students to prepare is by learning to work well with others, improving their communications (soft) skills and participating in class, and extracurricular activities. College will call for many group assignments, which can be a nightmare if students cannot adapt to this.

Preparing financially is very important, because if a student is not prepared it can cause a lot of stress. Read our Avoiding Student Debt blog post for tips on financially preparing before college.

Join us at World Future Forum for more research findings and best practices on Academic Preparation for College Readiness!

#GivingTuesday 2018

Over the last seven years, #GivingTuesday has gained momentum. Celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving. It is a movement that promotes giving either by donating money, volunteering, or offering expertise and information as an act of kindness. Social media and other platforms drive #GivingTuesday and help bring many people and partners together such as nonprofits,  organizations, businesses and individuals.

The World Future Forum organization, Future Institute, has provided multiple ways you can be part of #GivingTuesday. You can volunteer as a mentor for a college student, give an internship or job opportunity, or sponsor a student with a scholarship. But why help Future Institute? The students that Future Institute serves are less likely to attend college and more likely to dropout within their first year of college. These students belong to the following demographics.

To find out more on supporting Future Institute during this time of charity, please visit www.futureinstitute.us/future-blog-giving-to-students-in-need.

For more information on #GivingTuesday or find other ways you can be part of the movement, visit www.givingtuesday.org.

Join us at World Future Forum for more information on how to help students succeed and celebrate #GivingTuesday everyday!

Scholarships

Another great way to help your students avoid student debt is by encouraging them to apply for scholarships. Unlike loans and other student aid, scholarships do not have to be paid back, which make them the best alternative to student debt. There are thousands of scholarships available for students every year. It is only a matter of students making time to find them and to apply.

Good news! There are multiple reasons your students can be awarded scholarships and not all of them merit-based. Everyone has an opportunity at receiving scholarships. Some types of scholarships available are:

  • Academic scholarships or merit scholarships are awarded to students with a high GPA or SAT/ACT test scores.
  • Average academic performance scholarships are awarded to students with average GPAs but also focus on well-rounded students and scholarship essays.
  • Athletic scholarships are awarded to students who excel in sports. These are usually awarded by universities in order to persuade the athlete to play on their teams.
  • Minority scholarships are awarded to students belonging to “minority” ethnic groups. There are scholarships for individual ethnic groups as well as scholarships for students of any minority.
  • Women scholarships are awarded to women to encourage a more diverse campus. Another tip is to look for major-specific scholarships for women, especially STEM subjects.
  • Creative scholarships are awarded to those who want to pursue a creative career in music, art, dance, etc. These scholarships are usually more common in art schools and sometimes require a sort of audition.
  • Unusual scholarships are awarded for many fun reasons. There are scholarships for unique talents or random competitions. For example, creating a prom dress entirely out of duck tape. There are plenty of unusual scholarships awarded by private companies; they might just be a little harder to find.
  • Community service scholarships are awarded to those who have completed community service activities. If your students are interested in scholarship, it is very helpful for them to put together a community service hour log to track their involvement.

There are several free websites that match your students’ profile to scholarships that might be available for them. Here are a few of these resources:

Join us at World Future Forum for more research findings and best practices on student debt!

Avoiding Student Debt

As of 2018 stats, “Americans owe over $1.48 trillion in student loan debt, spread out among about 44 million borrowers.”

The looming, dark cloud over higher education in the U.S. is, of course, student debt which is why we are focusing on this World Future Forum topic during the spooky month of October. In this blog post, we will present some tips on how your students can avoid student debt even before starting their higher education. Conversely, this means trying to spend the least amount of money possible.

To help your students, you should help them understand that they need to:

  1. Excel in high school: This means your students should try their hardest to get the best grades in their everyday courses as well as their college entrance exams, SAT/ACT. The higher their grades, the more likely a school will want them and offer money. If their grades are not the best, they should look into getting tutored by another student or teacher. Tutoring is a great way for you to go the extra mile and really help your student avoid debt in the future. Another important fact, is that universities want well-rounded students. It looks great when a student is involved in clubs and activities that show they are committed and can work well with others. Skills developed during extracurricular activities, such as sports and academic skills, can also yield to scholarships. It is crucial your students understand high school as an opportunity for their future.
  2. Enroll in free college courses: Many times, students do not realize that by “saving the hassle” and not taking advanced courses in high school, they are missing out on a great opportunity.  Advanced Placement, dual enrollment and summer courses provided by universities and high schools are the perfect way to save money. Students are able to take courses that will be required in college for free! Another suggestion you can give students that already know what they want to study, is to look into programs in their desired majors at local universities that also offer college credit.
  3. Focus on in-state schools: Are your students aware that the yearly tuition for a four-year out-of-state public school is around $25,600 and approximately $34,700 for a private school while an in-state public school is about $9,500? That is a big difference. While moving to a completely different state or traveling cross-country can be tempting for your students, it is important to persuade them to reconsider. They might be underestimating the amount of student debt they can potentially get themselves into. If they make time to compare school costs and quality of education, they will more than likely realize that in-state schools are more convenient.
  4. Consider different living situations: Another positive aspect about attending an in-state school is that students might be able to live at home and save money on rent. Let’s be honest, the first reason many students want to go to an out-of-state school is to become independent of their parents; however, they do not realize that living in dorms is not always the cheapest option. Living in a dorm can easily add $11,000 to a yearly tuition. If living at home is not possible and dorms are too expensive, you should ask your students to consider renting an apartment with a couple of friends. Usually, living off-campus is cheaper and investing in a bike can save your students from time consuming walks or spending money on vehicle expenses.
  5. Contemplate working part time: Usually, students are not thinking about working during their higher education either because they want to focus on school or they do not want to worry about a job until after their college graduation. However, working, at least, a part-time job while going to school can pay for some of their schooling so they do not have student debt or at least helps minimize any debt. A bonus to having a job while attending a university, is that it look great on resumes when they start applying for “real” jobs. It shows students are responsible and have good time management skills.
  6. Try to steer clear of private loans: As opposed to federal student loans, private student loans do not have a limit on how much students can borrow each year. Private loans are a slippery slope, and it can be very easy for students to go in over their head and end up in massive student debt. Additionally, private student loans have higher interest rates and do not offer accommodation repayment plans for students who struggle to keep up with their payments.

Join us at World Future Forum for more research findings and best practices on student debt!