By: Diane Angulo, Director of College Access Programs
After hosting virtual College Essay Workshops and creating individualized college plans with rising seniors throughout the summer, we are now supporting our students as they head back to school!
As a Fulfillment Fund College Counselor, I have the honor of joining a weekly virtual senior seminar class, where for the first time in months I have been able to see the faces of our seniors in a classroom setting. I am thrilled to be “back” in the classroom meeting with students virtually and helping school counselors at our partner schools prepare for the college application season.
During the first class session, many students had concerns about missing important college deadlines, having technical issues, and, most importantly, questions about who would help them complete their college and financial aid applications. This was the perfect time for me to ease their feelings of stress by sharing all of the resources that the Fulfillment Fund has available. From creating college lists to hosting virtual college application workshops, answering questions, reassuring students that their Fulfillment Fund College Counselor would be there every step of the way really helped to ease their concerns.
Within the second week of the semester, we were able to organize our first College Application Workshop, which will continue to take place every Wednesday from now until December. During our first workshop, students created their University of California and Private College application accounts. Going into the first workshop was not easy. It was hard to gauge where students were in the application process, and if the workshop was going too fast for students.
As time went on, students began to warm up to us, turning on their microphones to ask questions. It was great to hear student voices and was also an exciting improvement since in the past students have preferred to use the chatbox when interacting with the College Counselors. Although it was a gradual step, it showed how far we as counselors have come in building relationships with students who have normally been too timid to speak in a larger virtual workshop setting.
Although it has been challenging to reach all students and build those relationships as we College Counselors once did in person, it is rewarding to see student emails thanking me for helping them create their college lists. This virtual setting has taken time to adjust to, but knowing that students are reaching out via email and scheduling college counseling check-ins lets me know that our Fulfillment Fund team is slowly — but surely — making an impact in their lives.