The Ultimate College Playlist

A folder of the best of the best college going videos/resources/posters to be shared with students in classrooms and beyond.

Photo of Shawna Myers
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  • Link to the prototype:

5/04/2016 UPDATE:  I am trying to slowly implement this idea in our school and see how teachers react to sharing info in their classrooms.  College Signing Day (April 26) was the perfect opportunity to begin.  I asked teachers to share Michelle Obama's message to students in their classes, in hopes of most of the seniors seeing the message.  While only a few did, it was a good test and intro to the idea of showing info on College and Financial Aid in the classrooms.    I also created FAFSA posters (3 variations) to be placed in ALL core senior classrooms.   This month (MAY), I want to push info on Juniors, to help prepare them for their soon-to-be senior year.  The FAFSA date change (now open in October, rather than January), speeds up the senior to do list, quickly.  I have attached the JUNIOR poster that is going to be hung in ALL Junior core classrooms (English and US History).  I am also going to ask teachers of these classes to consider showing the following video from Federal Student Aid, on how to get their FSA ID:

  • With counselor student ratios in the 400-500's, it is necessary to turn other groups of people into experts on the college process to get to all students and provide comprehensive information.  If we invite teachers to team with counselors to distribute information in classrooms, more students will have access to college information and experience a college going culture as their norm. 

Excellent resources are being made all the time to prepare students for the application journey (videos and posters). But, they’re not centrally located or curated - leaving counselors with the inefficient process of researching resources themselves. Imagine a bank of college-going resources compiled, organized, and pre-vetted that any teacher or counselor could pick up and use. That’s the Ultimate College Playlist! This will enable classroom teachers to play the role of counselor in those in-between instructional moments.

The Ultimate College Playlist will be distributed to teachers via the counselors through a shared file or website.  Teachers will be invited to show the videos to the students at the assigned times, or have the students use down moments in class to view on their own.  A timeline will be shared with teachers to guide them through the process.  Students will watch videos and see posters that align with what they should be doing at the specific time in the college process (i.e.  Students will be watching videos on filling out the FAFSA right before the window opens to fill out the FAFSA).  

Timelines with videos will be available for Juniors and Seniors (and possibly underclassmen if expanded).  Each timeline will walk students through the journey of applying to College, FAFSA, SAT/ACT, etc.  The website will be able to be accessed by students from home, parents, and others interested in the college journey.

Videos will cover the following topics for Seniors (Corresponding posters for classroom available too):  

#1  – Overall college process and year timeline, FSA ID, Motivation

#2  – How to submit the FAFSA and why.  Do it now!

#3 -  College Application details and process

#4 -  Scholarships, timeline, reminders

#5 -  Final Push – you can do it!  Connect with college, pay deposit, finalize fin aid

Videos will cover the following topics for Juniors:

#1  – Making a plan for post high school - options, sign up for Up Next App

#2  – Inspirational – finish school strong, choose a career

#3 -  Take SAT/ACT, visit colleges, suggestions to prepare

#4 -  Prepare for Senior year, FSA ID, motivation – you can do it!

By doing this as an entire school, teacher will become more informed of the process and have more visuals in their classrooms (posters).  These visuals will be prominent around the school and will be absorbed by more than just those in the midst of the college process.  Underclassmen will become familiar with the topics and process and be less intimidated as there is more exposure.  Over time, teachers will become more of the experts and the process will be second nature to them.  They will be able to help students with ease, and provide students with more resources for help (in addition to their college and career centers and counselors).  

Initially, teachers will be introduced to the process in a staff meeting.  They will be asked to share approximately 10 minutes a month on this project with students.  The videos and posters will be shared with teachers at the beginning of the year through a file/folder/app (?) that can be accessed throughout the year.  Counselors will send reminders for when the teachers should share a video with students and post a sign in their class.

Sample Timeline for teachers with Video/Poster Topics:

First level:

  • Group of videos (some would need to be created) that walks student through the college and financial aid process for 11th and 12th grade - multiple videos on each topic/timeline.
  • Videos will be easily accessible and able for teachers to show in their classes
  • Short in length (under 4 minutes)
  • Simple timeline for teachers to follow/counselors to remind teachers to show.
  • To the point, simple, clear, interesting – targeting first generation students
  • Posters/handouts to supplement the videos (PDF’s from US de – adjust as the topics change Twitter:  Federal Student Aid has great ones)
  • Accessible by those with low technology skills

Second level:

  • Videos organized on an app or way for parents to view from home. 
  • Easy to follow – first time college students and parents will low reading/English level.
  • Options to find more resources and connections, FAQ, contact info


  • If schools could enter their specific info within (Dates of college visits, College nights, Financial Aid help at school, websites, etc)
  • In Multiple languages
  • Expand to lower grades (beginning earlier – grade 9, 10, 11, 12)
  • Ideas on how to distribute in schools – homerooms?  Schools w/o homerooms?

Have a doc or slides that you're collaborating in? Link it here.

Proposal: Year Curriculum Sample: Teacher Plan for Seniors:

Evaluation results

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Attachments (1)

Junior Reminders.pdf

An end of the year Junior Reminder page to post in Junior core classrooms.


Join the conversation:

Photo of MK

Something I don't see--and might just have missed--is the essay-writing part of the process. There's a fabulous online resource called Story2 (Story to College), run by Dr. Carol Barash. Her site hosts tools for helping students figure out which stories they have to tell and then helping them build compelling narratives. Anyone--teacher or student--can go through the tools once for free, after which there is a charge. But this year, they are giving away 10,000 free slots <>. I taught myself how to use her methods through her book, Write Out Loud, which I highly recommend.

Photo of Annie Teav

This is such a great idea, it was just yesterday that I graduated with the support and encouragement of Shawna Myers (okay, maybe 9 years ago..) but one could never forget all of the memories deciding on colleges, applying for colleges, and then the "now what" feelings of how to pay for it all! This is such a great idea and could hugely benefit from just a little bit of technological support! I am honored to have been under Shawna's guidance through those times and am so excited to see how she's making her guidance that much more efficient and far reaching!! 

Photo of Ashley Haskins

How is it going? What has happened since our hackathon at FB? I haven't heard anything! 
I hope all is well!

Photo of Shawna Myers

Hi Ashley!  Thanks for the note.  I don't really have much of an update.  The hackathon was so much fun and inspirational, but I don't know what happens next.  I am continuing to use what I learned through this, and going to try and do some kind of distribution of videos/materials in my school starting next year.  I'm working (slowly this time of year) on organizing and getting things to a place that I can share.  I will keep updating this site with what I do, and maybe (fingers crossed) someone will want to get involved and help with all the technological and design pieces that are not my strength.  Thanks for checking in!  It was so nice to meet you and work with you at the hackathon!