Going to College: Be a Face Not an ID # Author: Marcia Page

You’ve heard the old saying, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Well I really don’t like that saying, but in this case it is extremely relevant. As a new college student, whether you are attending a 4-year, 2-year, or trade school, it’s critical that you extend yourself, get out of your comfort zone and get to know the people critical to your success, the resources available to you and how to navigate the school’s system to your best advantage. It is imperative that you become familiar with your school’s online portal where the majority of activities take place such as registering and paying for classes, checking your financial aid award package, and tracking your academic progress.

To get started, use these simple tips on your path to success.

Ensure Academic Success:
• Meet the school dean, the faculty in your major and your faculty advisor if one is assigned.
• Understand the requirements to successfully graduate in your program of study.
• Understand how to schedule classes and the timeline to register, add, drop, change and confirm your class roster for each semester.
• Know how to calculate your grade-point average to assure you are making academic progress.
• Know how to access / use tutoring and other academic services offered by your schools’ Academic Success Center.
• Know how to leverage the assets of the library, learning labs and other resources available to students.
• Once you have a class roster, make yourself acquainted with the teaching assistants and office hours for each of your professors.

Be Financially Responsible:
• Calculate your estimated expenses for tuition and other costs associated with college life and stick to your budget.
• Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to determine eligibility for financial aid. This must be renewed every year. Know that financial aid may include free grants as well as loans that must be repaid and be careful not to exceed a reasonable debt load.
• Ask about part-time and work-study jobs that may be available on campus to help cover expenses.
• Understand the academic requirements necessary to fulfill the mandates related to your financial aid; in some cases not having satisfactory academic progress could lead to the loss of financial aid.
• Know how to buy new/used textbooks, discounted hardware/software, tools, and supplies through on-campus bookstore or another approved source.

Be Safe and Socially Responsible:
• Understand your rights and responsibilities as a member of the school community. Check for a student’s bill of rights or a similar sort of document that explains what your school expects of you and what you should expect from the school.
• Know the school’s laws and policies, who to call in case of an emergency and how to use on-campus emergency call boxes if they are available.
• If there is an emergency alert system, get familiar with how messages are sent and where to access the most current information online.
• Think before you act; beware of reckless socializing (including online networking, alcohol and drug abuse).
• Know the counseling services that are available to assist you in dealing with personal and academic problems.
• Know how and when to use on-campus health services.

Get and Stay Involved on Campus and in the Local Community
• Become an active student leader and develop skills to build your resume and augment your academic accomplishments.
• Be a good citizen on campus and in the local community.
• Learn about student organizations, Greek Life, and activities outside of class including intercollegiate athletics, club sports, and intramural / extramural programs.

This is not a fully exhaustive list, but it is a good start to a successful college career.

Good Luck!

Bridging the Gap in STEM Studies: Females vs. Males. Author: Marcia Page

There is a science to helping students become successful in the classroom. Not to be cliché, but some research suggests there is evidence that there are differences between how to help girls learn and achieve versus how to help boys.

For years, women lagged behind men in educational attainment. In 1960, more boys went to college and census data suggested that twice as many males as females received bachelor’s degrees in 1960. Two decades later, by the mid-1980s, female students’ educational attainments had not only caught up but started to outpace the accomplishments of male students. Building on those success trends started almost 40 years ago, today female students are in fact performing far better than boys and according to the National Center for Educational Statistics, 57% of college students are female and women earn about one-third more bachelor’s degrees than men. After decades of concern about females being shortchanged, now there is some evidence to suggest exactly the opposite; perhaps it is really young men who are in peril.

Digging a little deeper to understand what is going on in STEM studies specifically, we will find that even though females are capable, their abilities in math and science classes do not predict whether they will go into related careers. Lisa Wade, associate professor and chairwoman of the sociology department at Occidental College in Los Angeles who frequently writes on this topic says, “many high-performing girls choose not to (go into STEM careers), and many lower-performing boys do. This is partly because women are pushed out of such careers because they are so strongly associated with men and masculinity or because they encounter hostility, but it’s also because they are pulled out: women strongly out-perform boys in skills related to other types of careers, so sometimes they choose those instead.”

While all the various theories and the current facts are interesting, the real question is what exactly causes the gender gap in STEM studies and educational achievement? The sad truth is that while data exposes an indisputable gender gap, the reasons that contributed to these results are unclear. The roots of the problem are complex and nuanced and it seems many factors contribute to the discrepancies between males and females.

So, what can be done to help students stay the path to pursue a degree in a STEM field? For both male and female students, create opportunities for your student to meet some same gender role models in their areas of interest. No matter the topic, there are likely professional organizations in the specific STEM field that may have outreach efforts designed to stimulate interest in the field, and some may even offer internship opportunities to students (as an example, to find STEM career related associations or professional organizations, go to www.engineering.com for engineering and www.computer.com for computer science) . Finally, there is anecdotal evidence that high school’s where academic achievements are celebrated and rewarded are good for both male and female students. Frequently these schools are in affluent districts or in urban areas where the community has rallied behind the school’s educational goals.

A primary take away from this discussion is to seek support both inside and outside the school environment encouraging and rewarding academic excellence and providing role models and hands on experience to support STEM career interest for both females and males.

Invest Now or Pay Later…..Your Choice! Author: Marcia Page

While recently strolling through a shopping mall, I stumbled up on a group of teenagers. As the profanity became less and less bearable, I became more and more disturbed. My initial inclination was to criticize these young men for the highly inappropriate language and seemingly gang affiliated attire. This would have been immediately followed by giving them the obligatory speech about respecting elders. Then, I thought about a quote I recently heard from Georgetown Professor, Michael Eric Dyson:

“Maybe if we lifted their dreams, their pants would follow”

It is easy for us to ridicule young people for the behaviors that they exhibit. But this particular day really made me begin to critically assess the state of adolescence in today’s society. Most parents and guardians do the best they can to rear their children. Teachers, often with limited resources, provide students with key foundational concepts they will need for academic success. Counselors and organizations such as EIF work diligently to ensure that students have the requisite knowledge regarding their postsecondary options.

But there is still a missing link: An adequate supply of positive mentors.

Most of us can think of someone in our life who, in some way, inspired us when we were younger. Maybe it was a coach or teacher who helped us hone our talents, a family friend who took an interest in our education or a boss who taught us the ropes of our chosen career. These people encouraged us to pursue our life goals and were people we could look up to as role models.

Mentors play an important role in helping young people succeed academically, socially and professionally. These more experienced men and women can pass on knowledge, advice and offer support to their younger counterparts.

Mentors have the ability to especially make an impact on potential first-generation college students or those entering a career path foreign to their families. These students can’t necessarily rely on the guidance of parents or siblings in preparing for their postsecondary careers. In these situations, mentors serve as sources of knowledge regarding college applications, financial aid, course work, career development, and what to expect after high school.

But beyond providing useful information, these adults can also act as sources of social support and encouragement. A student who has someone taking an interest in their life goals and who is invested in their success is more likely to succeed after high school. A young person with a mentor always knows that there’s someone rooting for them, and that they have someone they can turn to for help when needed. Simply put, having a mentor can often mean the difference between a student dedicating themselves to their education or giving up entirely.

However, the students themselves are not the only ones who benefit from mentor-mentee relationships. Those who mentor indirectly impact their communities by helping to build a workforce of knowledgeable and skilled professionals. And the hope is that these young students will one day return to their communities with the ability to become mentors to the next generation, creating a cycle of success.

But in a sense, none of these are the most important reason:

Simply put, those of us that have been successful in our postsecondary lives have a moral obligation to mentor. This obligation is born from the idea that in an effort to prepare the next generation for success, it is not the option for a few of us, but the responsibility of all of us. If we all embraced young people, our future, with this attitude, we can collectively create a group of young professionals poised to lead our world into a new path of innovation and leadership. And who knows? Maybe then, your stroll through the mall won’t be as discouraging and distasteful as mine.

Ayude a su estudiante a tomar GRANDES decisiones educativas

Para estudiantes del grado12 el tiempo es ahora. Para estudiantes del grado 11, el tiempo está cerca. Para estudiantes del grado 9 y 10, el tiempo está a la vuelta de la esquina. ¿Cómo ayudará a su hijo/hija tomar sus decisiones sobre la educación superior? Como padres y guardas, usted es la mayor influencia en la vida de su hijo/ hija. Ir a la universidad es una de las decisiones más importantes que su hijo/hija hará como un jóven adulto. Esto va sin decir; ellos necesitarán su ayuda.

Elegir un colegio puede ser muy involucrado. Uno de los aspectos más importantes de hacer esa elección incluye las finanzas; que es un sujeto que aturde a muchos adolescentes. Hable con su estudiante sobre el costo de colegio y ayúdales a entender qué escuelas son económicas. Dinero para cubrir matrícula, libros, la pensión completa puede ser cubierta de una variedad de opciones: dinero de usted sus padres y guardas, programas de estudio del trabajo y / o ayuda financiera, incluyendo becas, subvenciones y préstamos estudiantiles. También, anime a estudiantes a hacer la investigación a fondo y tomar viajes de colegio para ayudarles a entender el Colegio va el proceso y encontrar un colegio que es un ajuste perfecto para ellos académicamente y socialmente. ¡Nunca es demasiado temprano para comenzar!

El envío de un hijo/hija a la Universidad puede ser fácil con el adecuado apoyo y orientación. Si usted se siente dominado por el proceso entero, en primer lugar mantener el rumbo con su apoyo, primero se queda el curso con su apoyo, pero busca la ayuda de las personas que están bien informadas sobre el proceso. Hable con familiares y amigos que han atendido el colegio, o establecer una reunión con consejero de enseñanza superior EIF de su estudiante o orientador escolar.

He proporcionado unas consejos aquí, tan ahora, ¿cómo ayudará usted a su hijo/ hija con el proceso de educación superior? ¡Si tiene sugerencias adicionales para compartir, déjame oír de usted en Facebook o Twitter!

EIF, Senior Higher Education Advisor

Helping your student make GREAT educational decisions

For seniors the time is now. For juniors, the time is close. For sophomores and freshmen, the time is around the corner. How will you help your child make their decisions about higher education? As parents and guardians, you are the greatest influence in your child’s life. Going to college is one of the most important decisions that your child will make as a young adult. It goes without saying; they WILL need your help.

Making a college choice can be very involved. One of the most important aspects of making that choice includes finances; which is a subject that bewilders many teenagers. Talk to your student about the cost of college and help them understand which schools are affordable.  Money to cover tuition, books, room and board can be covered with a variety of options: money from you their parents and guardians, work-study programs and / or financial aid including scholarships, grants and student loans.   Also, encourage students to do in-depth research and take college trips to help them understand the college going process and to find a college that is a perfect fit for them academically and socially. It’s never too early to start!

Sending a child off to college can be easy with the right support and guidance. If you feel overwhelmed by the whole process, first stay the course with your support, but seek help from people that are knowledgeable about the process. Talk to family and friends that have been to college, or set up a meeting with your student’s EIF higher education advisor or school guidance counselor.

I have provided a few tips here, so now, how will you help your child with the higher education process?  If you have additional tips to share, let me hear back from you on Facebook or Twitter!

Talk soon,

EIF, Senior Higher Education Advisor

URGENT, Apply for FAFSA/TASFA now!

Students if you have not applied for FAFSA/TASFA, it is URGENT that you do so now! There is no need to wait until last minute, first come first served. Go visit your counselor or Education is Freedom Advisor to help you fill out the FAFSA/TASFA application.

Also it is not too late to apply for scholarships. There are many out there, don’t stay behind and take action. Make sure to read the criteria and see if you are eligible.

The following are several scholarships available:

Great Lakes National Scholarship Program

https://www.scholarshipamerica.org/greatlakes/

Dallas School Administrators Association Scholarship

www.dsaa.org

BELIEF Scholarship

www.thebelieffoundation.org

Make sure to check with your counselors or Education is Freedom Advisor for scholarships that you may be eligible for.

EIF, Higher Education Advisors

Estudiantes, si no han solicitado la forma FAFSA/TASFA, es urgente que lo haga ahora!

No hay necesidad de esperar hasta último momento. El dinero es entregado a aquellos estudiantes que hayan presentado sus solicitudes.

Estudiantes visiten a su consejero o Education is Freedom consejero para ayudarles a llenar la solicitud. No se queden atrás!

Además, no es demasiado tarde para solicitar becas. Hay muchas por ahí, no se queden atrás y tomen medidas. Asegúrese de leer los criterios y ver si usted es elegible para la beca.

Los siguientes son varias becas disponibles:

Great Lakes National Scholarship Program

https://www.scholarshipamerica.org/greatlakes/

Dallas School Administrators Association Scholarship

www.dsaa.org

BELIEF Scholarship

www.thebelieffoundation.org

Asegúrese de consultar con sus consejeros o el consejero(a) de Education is Freedom para las beca que usted puede ser elegible.

EIF, Higher Education Advisors

Estudiantes, están todavía en busca de dinero para pagar la universidad? No es demasiado tarde!

Estudiantes, están todavía en busca de dinero para pagar la universidad? No es demasiado tarde para completar la FAFSA o TASFA! Cuanto antes se complete la aplicación tendras mejores posibilidades de recibir ayuda financiera. Una ventaja importante de solicitar ayuda financiera es que la mayoría de las escuelas tienden a otorgar mayor cantidad de dinero para la primera ronda de los estudiantes que soliciten una ayuda financiera. No te olvides de llenar la FAFSA / TAFSA tan pronto como sea posible!

Materiales necesarios para completar la FAFSA:
– Formulario 2011 IRS 1040 (Padre y Estudiante)
– 2011 Forma W2 (Padre y Estudiante)
– Los documentos financieros relacionados con los activos, los beneficios y ahorros
– Su FAFSA número PIN (Padre y Estudiante)
– Tarjetas de Seguro Social
Los productos que necesita para completar TASFA:
– Formulario 2011 IRS 1040 (Padre y Estudiante)
– 2011 Forma W2 (Padre y Estudiante)

¿Confundido? ¿Necesitas ayuda? Para obtener mas información, incluyendo lugares y fechas vaya a:  here.

Education is Freedom, Dallas, Texas

Presente su declaración de impuestos temprano para maximizar el paquete de ayuda financiera para su hija o hijo.

Es el tiempo del impuesto! Para muchas familias esto puede ser un momento estresante del año y la necesidad de esperar hasta el 15 de abril no es necesario. Sin embargo, si usted tiene un hijo(a) en la universidad o un hijo(a) que va a ingresar en la universidad este otoño, por favor presente su declaración de impuestos. Es muy importante que los estudiantes universitarios y que pronto será los estudiantes universitarios completen su FAFSA temprano.

Presentación de una primera solicitud FAFSA le dará a su hijo(a) la mejor oportunidad para obtener el máximo de la ayuda financiera posible. Cuanto más tiempo que un estudiante espera, mayor será la posibilidad de que no recibirán el total de asistente que son elegibles para recibir. Es una buena práctica recordar que la distribución de los subsidios federales y estatales no están garantizados, es un primer proceso de orden de llegada. Incluso si una familia no es elegible para recibir subvenciones, se aconseja que todos los estudiantes completem la FAFSA, ya que muchas becas lo requieren y el gobierno lo requiere para los préstamos estudiantiles. Por lo tanto, vamos a empezar a moverse en esta temporada de impuestos. Ayude a su hijo(a)  al darles la mejor oportunidad de recibir ayuda financiera.

Si necesita ayuda para tomar la tensión de la presentación de sus impuestos, United Way está ofreciendo el servicio de los preparadores de impuestos capacitados para las personas que ganan menos de $ 50.000. Para obtener más información y para encontrar una buena ubicación cerca de usted: visita UnitedWayDallas.org/EKS, REEMBOLSO de texto a 27138 o llame al 214-978-0081.

Best regards,

Education is Freedom, Dallas, TX  75204

File Your Taxes Early to Maximize Your Student’s Financial Aid Package

It’s tax time! For many families this can be a stressful time of the year and the urge to wait until April 15th to file is great. However, if you have a child in college or a child that will be entering college this fall, please resist that urge! It is critical that college students and soon to be college students complete their FAFSA (Federal Application for Student Aid) early. This means that parents must bite the bullet and get their taxes completed as soon as possible.

Submitting a FAFSA early will give your child the best chance to get the maximum amount of financial aid possible. The longer a student waits, the higher the chances that they will not receive the entire amount of aide that they are eligible for. It is good practice to remember that the distributions of federal and state grants are not guaranteed; it is a first come first served process. Even if a family is not eligible for grants, it is advised that ALL students complete the FAFSA because many scholarships require it and the government requires it for student loans.  So, let’s get moving this tax season. Help your student by giving them the best chance to receive as much financial aid as they qualify for.

If you need help taking the stress out of filing your taxes, the United Way is offering the service of trained tax preparers for people that make less than $50,000. For more information and to find a convenient location near you: visit UnitedWayDallas.org/EKS, text REFUND to 27138 or call 214-978-0081.

Best regards,

Education is Freedom, Dallas, TX  75204