Four Apps for College Planning

New information comes out daily about college planning, from changes in admission policies to paying for college. Keeping up with the constant barrage can be overwhelming. Oftentimes, I wonder how families keep abreast of all the news when as a college planning professional, I find it challenging on good days. Personally, I scour social media, follow influencers, read professional publications, attend conferences and participate in more webinars than I can count. Visiting colleges is a major part of my ongoing education as a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA). To date, I’m on schedule to tour about 30 colleges and universities before the end of 2017.

Lately, my self-imposed professional development regimen includes learning about apps to help students plan, prepare and pay for college. My kids at Chillax, a teen program sponsored by one of my local library branches, were trying to teach me the importance of Snapchat but I’m saving that professional development for another day. Four apps caught my attention and I want to tell you a little something about each of them. They are the Daily Practice SAT, Minorities to Majorities™, Scholly and ZeeMee.

Daily Practice SAT. If you know students prepping for the SAT, this app is a great resource at no cost! The first time I used it I became giddy over the possibilities this app presented. I’m a life-longer learner and I get excited about when I have something to share with my students to help them move forward. This app scans, scores and delivers a question and answer analysis for students’ practice tests. Watch this video to learn more about using this app.

Minorities to Majorities™. Jasmine N. Chigbu, Duke graduate and creator of this app envisioned a resource “to provide students, especially ethnic minority, female, LGBT and international students with information about various scholarship, internship, and fellowship opportunities.” Available in the App Store and Google Play, currently there is no cost for this tool. Watch this YouTube video to learn about its features and hear from Ms. Chigbu in her own words.

Scholly. How many of you are Shark Tank fans? I am. I love watching the entrepreneurial spirit come alive during the pitches. Chris Gray pitched Scholly, an app designed to help students at various educational levels to search for scholarships more efficiently, on Shark Tank during Season 6.  For the low price of $2.99, students can download the app, complete their profile and start applying for scholarships. How did Chris do on Shark Tank? Watch!

ZeeMee. Part of the college application process involves college bound students telling their story. This redesigned platform allows students to convey whom they are through 26-second videos and photos chosen by them. Currently, more than 200 colleges are partners with ZeeMee. Do you need more information about this free resource for college admission? Watch Ethan Lin, ZeeMee’s Head of Education give some tips to help you create a video profile to support your college application.

These resources and tools are an opportunity for college bound high school students and current college students at the undergraduate and graduate level to explore the many possibilities open to them.


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May 2021 Update

Professional development continues to be a major factor in my work life. With physical visits to campuses curtailed during 2020 (most are re-opening for in-person visits), I spend about 7 -10 hours per week on virtual visits with college admission counselors. The IECA, one of my professional organizations, regularly conducts College Conversations, an hour-long presentation with time built in for Q & A. To date, members of IECA had sessions with the colleges on the chart. Additionally, I added to this list by facilitating sessions in my capacity as the college counselor for the Montessori School of Raleigh where, along with the students, we learned more about UNC Charlotte, UNC Wilmington, the College of Wooster, Queens University of Charlotte, Muhlenberg, Elon, Western Carolina, North Carolina Central, the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Did you know UNC Wilmington has a major in Coastal Engineering or that Western Carolina (along with UNC Pembroke and Elizabeth City State) is a NC Promise institution? A NC Promise school’s in-state tuition is $500 while non-residents pay $2500 per semester.

Our virtual world allows for hours upon hours of accessible college information sessions. I had to step back and limit myself to a reasonable number of hours of “college visits”.

I challenge my students regularly to move beyond their comfort zone and during the height of the pandemic, I stretched myself way beyond my level of comfort. I am one of 14 co-authors of Becoming The Shero, an anthology depicting the journeys of entrepreneurs at different stages of their lives. My story is in the Embracing the Pivot section.

Another way I stay current is through my new position at Providence College. As of August 2020, I am the College Supervisor for the School Counseling Program. What does the college supervisor do? I supervise the students in the program during their 2-semester internship at a school, where they are directly supervised by their Site Supervisor, a certified professional school counselor. It is the student teaching equivalent for school counseling.

Reading is a daily pleasure for me. Here are nine books (not in chronological order) that helped me to educate myself about current events and issues of social justice:

  • Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents ~ Isabel Wilkerson
  • How to Be An Anti-Racist ~ Ibram X. Kendi
  • Stamped From The Beginning ~ Ibram X. Kendi
  • I’m Still Here ~ Austin Channing Brown
  • The Color Of Law ~ Richard Rothstein
  • We Want To Do More Than Survive ~ Bettina Love
  • Down Along With That Devil’s Bones ~ Connor Towne O’Neill
  • Interrupting Racism: Equity and Social Justice in School Counseling ~ Rebecca Atkins & Alicia Oglesby
  • Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race ~ Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D.

To stay up-to-date on trends in college, career and paying for college, see my list of books under the “Parent Resources” tab.

I challenge my students to be lifelong readers. I am practicing what I preach. What are you reading today?

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