Guest Post via @wmjackson: Jacksonville Goes To College To Prepare for the Future

The Jacksonville Goes to College event was filled with the excitement of students from all walks of life and even grade levels discovering areas of study and potential careers for the future. As in previous year’s recruiters, advisors, instructors, and administrators from over 100 higher educational and vocational institutions put on their best to attract the best and brightest students that Duval County Public Schools and surrounding school districts have to offer. Even those students that are struggling academically learned
of tutoring and enrichment services at schools, working to make higher education available despite academic challenges.

Along with the excitement of students were the worries, concerns, and planning of parents and a growing number of grandparents praying, planning, and proactively seeking how to finance a college or university education for their children.

Remembering my similar journey with my son, a graduate of FAMU, now attending Florida State University, and my daughter attending University of Central Florida, the gifts of scholarships and grants was very welcomed, this would be a blessing for my children’s mother and I and decreased the worry of financial aid.

Lessons learned can be overheard by the questions of students and parents to recruiters sharing valuable information. Some of the important lessons are not to wait, apply early, and make sure monies are available for fees that need to be paid immediately. Girls should consider STEAM/STEM fields because jobs are growing faster than the demand for skilled knowledge-based fields.  A girl’s mind is her opportunity to enter a high-paying and leadership role in careers only thought of for men; the number of qualified men is dropping.

Virtual Reality and Gaming are top industry areas that African Americans, Latino, and other cultures of color need to consider for careers. Developing games, graphics design, and virtual reality are the areas that allow for great creativity, high incomes and traveling. Learning how to develop new games that dazzle the senses and inspire people to put down money to purchase games that many times are global in playing.

African American, Latino, and other culturally diverse parents and students need to speak to guidance counselors early before their office hours are filled with panicked students that waited to the last minute to fill out financial aid and entrance applications.

There are thousands of scholarships available, but many do have deadlines fast approaching. Many parents use the tools offered by Ashley Hill‏ of Prep for college

On Twitter, #collegechat to help find the right scholarship
for the right areas of study and the right career

Parents need to be proactive in their efforts in preparation, what are their children talented in, their skills strength and academic and creative talents, sometimes even starting in the 8th grade to see what environment their child or children will fit in. Students may want to attend a large university for the glamour, but need a small or middle size school that has a low teacher to student ratio. The goal of higher education
is to graduate with a viable skill set, not to party and play.

D’yani Jones, a sophomore attending Andrew Jackson High School, knows she is interested in many areas of technology and is looking early at schools that have low ratios and high-end tech facilities. Her sister Sha’ni wants to be a veterinarian and is looking at schools that guide her to fulfilling her dreams of being a business owner of her own pet store and animal hospital.

Parents need to talk to their children on a regular basis as Ceolo Lewis, D’yani and Sha’ni mother to understand how to help their children gain their dreams.
Parents should be able to facilitate the learning in and out of school to develop the whole child and work with teachers, administrators, and guidance counselors.
Learning about financial aid early, when and where to apply for scholarships, grants and the value of paid, unpaid internships. A parent’s financial history does have a big effect on their children receiving subsidized help. Even if parents themselves did not attend college they should do everything they can to help their children achieve their goals.
Start early and ask lots of questions to get the answers you need.

Resources for Scholarships:
Ashley Hill‏ @prepforcollege
Scholarships are all around.
On Twitter #collegechat


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