Applying to college and getting in is just one of the Higher Education Hurdles we face. Another one is getting money for your college education. By now, we hope you’ve explored our “Get Money” section to review ways to make college affordable. Here at OACA, we wanted to promote the Cash for College Workshops going on in Southern California this fall. These workshops help students and parents with understand and applying for financial aid, and specifically filling out the FAFSA. There are workshops throughout the area, with a Super Saturday event happening in LA. If you want to find a workshop near you, visit the Cal Grant website.
If you can’t visit every campus on your college list, college fairs are a great way to visit and speak with college representatives for schools you are interested in. For students in Southern California, check out the California Educational Roundtable’s College Fair Calendar.
Check out this awesome video from CollegeMapper on what to do at a College Fair:
We are excited to announce the launch of Open Access College Advising. A free resource helping students explore post-secondary educational opportunities.
Why and How We Do it
We came together to form Open Access College Advising (OACA) because there was a need. We came together to make a difference. We came together to pay it forward for those who helped us get to college. OACA was created to serve first-generation, low-income students and their families in navigating the college admissions process. All resources are free. Our featured service is online college advising for students and families.
Our students come from underresourced and underperforming areas. We work with students in schools that have high counselor-to-student ratios (600:1 or great), where the median family income level is below 60k, and parent’s educational attainment (bachelor’s degree and beyond) is below 30%. We know there are major educational disparities in our community and we intend to change that! Knowing where our students come from, we also know they have the capacity for greatness. Their lived experience, resilience, and determination is key to their future success. What’s necessary for change is a catalyst. We are that spark. In OACA, our work with students is based on three principles:
Empower, Energize, and Educate.
All services are free. So how do you take advantage?
1) Explore our website and sign-up for advising
2) Provide academic information
3) Have access to a computer with internet
4) Be able to meet three times in a six month period
How we do it
- Initial meeting: After reviewing our demographic questionnaire and evaluating transcripts, we have a one-hour advising session. During the meeting we get to know the student, build rapport, and begin to understand students motivations, dreams, and future aspirations. Knowing students’ academic profile, we can begin build a college for the student to apply to. We address topics such as academic majors, institution types, cost of attendance, importance of deadlines, and overall college admissions process.
- Take-aways: College list with 5+ institutions to research and potentially apply, schedule of remaining testing dates, senior check-list, and appoint for follow-up meeting.
- Second meeting: This meeting is scheduled two weeks before primary institution’s application deadline, we meet to review checklist, revise college list, and answer any other questions students may have. We also discuss applying for scholarships, setting up pin to submit their FAFSA, and motivating them through the process. We provide feedback on personal statement and general college application responses.
- Take-aways: All application materials are discussed and reviewed, finalized list of colleges to apply, help with application and test fee waivers, checklist with next steps.
- Third meeting: Scheduled after majority of decisions have been announced. We discuss fit of available options, review financial aid packages, and remind them of visit and admit student days.
- Take-aways: Help plan campus visits, review financial aid award, housing options, and discuss choosing a college to attend.
Our Advisors Expectations
Always Be Honest
Use Unconditional Positive Regard
We do not recruit for our institution
We keep confidentiality in regards to students educational records
If you are interested in our services, please check out the College Advising section and sign up! Feel free to explore the other sections of our site as well.
Open Access College Advising Team