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    A WA parent, RickF, Mick Costigan, beGalileo, oliviaerin
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    Joined: Mar 2013
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    Originally Posted by Val
    I agree that these kids need support and help, but I wonder about the best way to provide it and if tossing them in as full-time first semester freshmen who may also be far from home is the best approach. It's almost like setting them up for failure: everyone you trust and care about is hundreds of miles from here, everything is new, the workload may be geared toward tiger cubs, and you have no idea how to deal with situations that are second nature to your classmates. On top of that, you may also have no clue how to deal with financial aid requirements like renewing stuff or signing stuff that you may completely unaware even exists.

    IMO, a better way to help these kids might be to put them into a one-year gap program that helps them learn how to survive in college. If I was designing something like this, I'd give them a class on how to use a library, on how to deal with financial aid, on how to buy cheap books on the internet or borrow them at the library, and on how to manage time. I'd also enroll them in onsite classes that would require them to use the library to complete assignments. They might also have an onsite part-time job (10 hours a week-ish?) to help them learn to manage money and save for next year. Ideally, the program would be local but residential from Monday to Friday initially, so that they'd be away from home during the week, but not too far from home, and not for too long (maybe not residential the first week, either). Then later, they'd be required to stay for a weekend here and there.

    There would be field trips (e.g. museums) and community service days. Community service projects with seniors from private schools might help kids get to know each other.

    Okay, back to reality.
    I have heard of summer programs that are designed for first generation college students. Quick google shows they are often called bridge programs and I found an article about them.

    http://college.usatoday.com/2015/04...neration-students-adapt-to-college-life/


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    Originally Posted by aeh
    Don't forget the for-profit college admissions "counsellors" who charge families for telling them about freely-available financial aid and free testing prep resources that mid/upper-mid class families learn about from their school guidance counselors.
    I wonder if guidance counselors know much that is not freely available on the Internet or in books at the public library. My wife is an immigrant, and she has read many books to learn about the college admissions process in the U.S., so that she can advise our children. Information is out there, but people need the brains to understand it and the initiative to look for it.

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    I agree that a determined, savvy lay person can find nearly everything a guidance counselor can. However, school counselors don't charge for the service. Private ones do. And therein lies the difference.


    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...
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    School counsellors can have hundreds and hundreds of students assigned to them. A private one can keep his/her client list to a humanly possible to serve number.

    My son's school has about 3000 students. Over 600 seniors (yeah they lose a bunch between freshman year and senior year). Case load for the college counselor is impossible. She has many assemblies and meetings after school. I can't imagine you get much one on one help.

    I for one am glad private ones exist. Not sure we will employ one. But glad I have the option and am savvy enough to find a good one.

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    I'm not opposed to the private ones, for the personal attention reasons you list. Just to the unscrupulous ones who direct families to inappropriate applications, and have ties to student loan operators.


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    Val Offline
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    I agree completely, aeh.

    Others: remember that the last page or two of this thread has focused on low-income students, who certainly don't have the kind of money required for a flashy and pricey college admissions counselor. They best most of these kids can hope for as a matter of course is probably a stressed-out high school counselor overseeing 400 kids whose last names begin with I-P. And again, most of these kids don't even know what questions to ask, which makes it hard for them to figure out what they need to know about getting and keeping financial aid, and etc. etc.

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    Quote
    My wife is an immigrant, and she has read many books to learn about the college admissions process in the U.S., so that she can advise our children. Information is out there, but people need the brains to understand it and the initiative to look for it.

    Are you saying that poor students who fail to successfully negotiate the college admission process to their best advantage just don't have enough brains or iniative? They should be able to figure out FAFSA etc at 16/17/18 with no assistance? (Parents may not be supportive at all.) I wonder how many of their middle-class and UMC peers would do with zero support or help from parents or counselors. Why must students with no college background or family support be so much MORE organized and competent than those who are fortunate enough to have been born with advantages?

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