Become Unstoppable with College Possible

My year of service with College Possible makes me believe we can extend their mission into every school and classroom.

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When I started my term of service with College Possible I was amazed at how much I had forgotten about my own junior year of high school. Between standardized tests, the SAT's, researching colleges, figuring out what I wanted to do with my future, etc. junior year is really something that can be overwhelming for most students. As a College Possible Junior Coach at Parkway Center City High School, located in Philadelphia, PA, I am responsible for a cohort of 40 students and making sure they are on track when it comes to college. We research colleges and prep for the SAT's, they are required to take practice SAT tests and apply to a summer enrichment program. In their senior year they need to apply to at least 5 colleges, apply for scholarships, and complete their FAFSA, among other things. In college, College Possible students are in contact with their coach to make sure they are on track to graduate, that they've registered for the next semester of classes, that they have everything squared away with their financial aid. In short, the list of things needed to get in and through college has become a very lengthy one.

My idea was originally for College Possible; To create a student portal that has every single thing on their check list. Once the student signs up for the SAT that particular check list item would be crossed off. This requires the student to have one username and password and then the portal remembers the rest. Not only will the Junior, Senior and College tabs include grade specific links but also have reminders that it would text your phone or send to your Facebook or Snap Chat or whatever mode of social media is relevant to that student. It would be like giving each student a electronic personal assistant whose sole role is to get you into and through college.

The more I thought about the idea in regard to my own work, I also thought about how helpful it would be to those students that aren't in College Possible. How each school could have their own portal that had the links and checklists for each student. Teachers could set test reminders that could be programmed for some time before the test to be sent out and remind the students, or perhaps homework assignment reminders. This portal would make it easier for schools to be able to track which students took the SAT and what their scores were, to report back grades and standardized test scores. Again, one username and one password would be all that was needed in order to keep track of an entire school of students. Here's a problem though: What is the incentive for students to go on and track their progress? Well this could be in the form of rewards. For example, if the student completes a task there could be a reward of X amount of dollars towards their college education. There could be a cap per student as to how much they could potentially make per year but the incentive is to actually MAKE IT. 

Overall, technology is something that we need to learn to work into schools as early as possible. Though I loved my spiral bound planner that bent and faded through the school year, technology has quickly taken over most of the high school aged students. Gone are the days of color coordinating your gel pen collection to the classes you were taking! Yes we want students to be proactive in their education but why not create a platform that would make that productive pro activity that much easier! 

[Optional] Synthesize a little! In one sentence, describe what you learned from your empathy exercises or analogous research. (Ex: Good advisors make a difference.)

Technology should be our friends, not our foe.

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Photo of Margaret

Hi Molly Margeson , thanks for this great post! I'm also in Philly and love that your photo is right on the Ben Franklin Parkway. Your insights are great reminders about the many different challenges students are juggling, both before and during college, and how overwhelming it might be to try and track them all! I wonder if you could share more about what inspired your idea for the tech portal? Posting more about what you have seen students in College Possible (and beyond) experience relating to managing the different deadlines, tasks, etc, could be really useful as you and hopefully others, take your idea forward. I think it would be great to bring the portal idea to the ideate (share ideas!) phase that starts tomorrow.