It takes more than generous financial aid packages to get first-generation students to and through college.
Make no mistake: Monetary support is crucial. But college counselors on both sides of the desk also need to understand the structural inequalities that define the lives of many low-income teens.
That was the message author and public school counselor Joshua Steckel shared with participants during Wednesday’s online #NACACreads chat. His book, Hold Fast to Dreams: A College Guidance Counselor, His Students, and the Vision of a Life Beyond Poverty, follows 10 young people from New York City as they apply to colleges and go on to pursue higher education.
#NACACreads author Joshua Steckel sought a job in New York City’s public school system nine years ago because he wanted to help low-income teens access higher education.
In Hold Fast to Dreams Steckel and co-author Beth Zasloff seek to further that work, this time by spotlighting the barriers first-generation and minority students face in the college admission process.
Yet, increasingly, students and families engaged in the college admission process fall prey to the idea that only a certain set of elite colleges can provide the necessary education and experiences, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni told #NACACreads participants Monday night.
The result? Undue stress, regimented resume-building, and an unsettling shift in values. It’s a trend Bruni wants to see changed.
Colleges that accept video essays or provide other avenues for students to express themselves in the admission process may be on to something.
That was the assessment made Wednesday by participants in the inaugural #NACACreads Twitter chat.
The issue was raised during a discussion of Sal Khan’s The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined. In the book, Khan — founder of the online learning platform, Khan Academy — notes that “today’s world needs a workforce of creative, curious and self-directed lifelong learners.”
That’s the message a group of rising seniors from Minnesota heard Monday during the state’s inaugural Camp College. The two-day event, which continues today, is part of a larger push by NACAC affiliates to help first-generation and other underserved students learn more about the higher education options available to them.
Earlier this month, NACAC staff traveled to Atlanta to participate in the annual conference of the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students — an entity which strives to improve the lives of transfer students by supporting those who directly serve these students, as well as those who create transfer policy and conduct transfer-related research.