'Shopping' for College

Taking college advice and information out of school and into the community by providing family drop-in centers where people shop and meet.

Photo of Mary Fanning
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We want more families and students to know  about college opportunities, applications, and funding.  Taking college advice and information out of school and into the community by providing family drop-in centers should increase outreach. Offering these services on Saturdays and evenings at locations where people are already going makes the information more accessible for everyone and reaches families who might not attend school events. Using places such as shopping centers, stores, and other community locations could lead to a flexible and responsive service.

Initially the idea came from reflecting on my family’s experience of getting 4 daughters into college. Coming from a background where both parents are college educated you might think this is not a challenge but…

Coming from England to the USA presented so many challenges in navigating and understanding the US college system and application process. You would think it would be easy for us as we ‘speak the same language’ but it really was unfamiliar territory in so many ways.

My reflections suggested that:

-a lower key approach than the High School sessions would be helpful, encouraging and reassuring!  A place where you could ask those little niggling questions you don’t want to share in a big session with so many people who know so much more…

- a venue that was neutral - you could drop in or out as it suited…

- parents/guidance who had the same experiences but had navigated the path in previous years who could share their wisdom…

If we can organize voting booths in a laundromat - why not this?

From: CNN 34 photos: The week in 34 photos

A voter casts a ballot inside a Chicago laundromat on Tuesday, March 15

ImageCNN 34 photos: The week in 34 photos title

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Photo of Gabriella Cannon

Hi Mary, drop in centers are a great idea! I would love to help you develop this further. I wonder if you could bring in a virtual college campus tour element. Give students and families a taste of the college experience. 

Photo of Mary Fanning

That is a great idea. A virtual college tour would be a great addition in making the experience more accessible and familiar.

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