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College & Career Month 2020

“This year more than ever, College & Career Month will play a critical role helping students get a robust understanding of the importance of postsecondary education and giving them the tools to act on their college and career goals."
Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO, The Boston Foundation

What is College & Career Month?

College Month 2016 logo

Success Boston College & Career Month is an annual campaign each October to create awareness about college affordability, college admissions, and the types of degrees and careers that go along with a college education. The goal of College & Career Month is to showcase all of the city’s varied and helpful resources designed to get students prepared for, enrolled in, and through college. These include resources related to the PSAT and SAT; virtual college tours, including to HBCUs and two- and four  year institutions; FAFSA support and college affordability; and exploration of postsecondary options to help students map out their college journey.

Now in its 14th year, College & Career Month is a partnership between the Boston Public Schools and Success Boston. Since College & Career Month began, Success Boston and its partners have worked to increase the numbers of Boston Public Schools students who attend and complete college. Today, the six-year college completion rate stands at 53% for BPS graduates, up from 35% for the class of 2000.


Important Dates

October 1: FAFSA opens, citywide College Pride Day 

  • Wear your college colors! Take a picture and upload in to
    Instagram with the hashtags #CollegeMonth &
    #SuccessBoston.

October 5-9 (Week 1): College Affordability Week

  • Today is FAFSA Day in BPS! The Free Application for
    Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opens today! You may qualify
    for thousands in federal financial aid. Visit
    www.studentaid.gov to get started.

October 5: SAT test date

October 7: Virtual college tours

  • Visit colleges near and far. Scan the QR code to the right
    for a list of colleges & universities within 100 miles of
    Boston and links to their virtual campus tours.

October 10: Free SAT & PSAT prep

  • The PSAT will be administered to BPS eleventh grade students  
    on October 14th, 17th, 29th, or January 26th. It serves as the  
    National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT) and will allow  
    BPS students to qualify for scholarships. Students will access the  
    exam at their respective high school campuses; schools are working  
    on plans to ensure that safeguards are in place for the test.  
    administration. These students will also be allowed to take their SATs  
    in the Spring of 2021 during the school day. Students should connect 
    with their guidance counselors for more information. 

October 12-16 (Week 2): College Readiness Week

October 13: BPS Virtual HBCU Fair

  • Have you ever wondered what the HBCU experience is like? Meet
    alumni from Historically Black Colleges & Universities. 6-7:30PM.

October 14: PSAT & SAT Day

  • 11th Graders will be able to take the PSAT on 10/14, 10/17, 10/29
    or 1/26. 12th Graders will be able to take the SAT on 10/14 or
    10/27. Students should contact their guidance counselors for more
    info.

October 15: Scholarships open

  • Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship application is open. Deadline:
    10/30. Coca Cola Scholars Foundation scholarship application
    Deadline: 10/31. Ron Brown Scholarship Application Deadline:
    Jan. 9

October 17: FAFSA Completion

  • MassEdCo Education & Career Planning Center offers families
    and students one-on-one virtual counseling on completing the
    FAFSA. Happening weekly12-4PM on Saturdays through
    December. Go to https://www.massedco.org/eocintake/boston
    to register for services

October 18: NACAC Virtual 2 & 4 Year College Fair

  • Meet representatives from local and national 2 & 4 year colleges and
    universities. 12-8PM Also happening on 10/12 and 11/8. Go to
    virtualcollegefairs.org to register.

October 19-23 (Week 3): STEM & Alumni Engagement Week

  • Want to learn more about STEM? Think like a problem solver
    and try a virtual design challenge. Visit the Mass STEM Week page
    at https://www.massstemweek.org/202
    0-stem-week-design-challenges/
    for more information

October 20: Virtual Tuition-Free Community College Fair

  • Thinking about community college? You can get up to 3 years
    tuition free by applying through the BPS TFCC Plan.
    Meet representatives from local community colleges from 6-7:30PM.

October 22: Engage an alum!

  • Have questions about the transition to college? Attend the
    Success Boston panel at 4PM to talk to BPS alums who have
    gone through the process. Visit successboston.org for more
    information.

October 26-30 (Week 4): Success with Naviance Week

October 28: Explore Naviance

  • Start by setting a S.M.A.R.T. goal. Keep track of your high
    school journey and explore postsecondary options.
Deval Patrick Award for Community Colleges
Vitas mori. Albus orexiss ducunt ad gabalium. Ubi est altus nomen? Liberi de castus bubo, pugna species! Persuadere diligenter ducunt ad bi-color barcas.

BPS Virtual College & Career Panels

Choose to register for one or all of the 2020 BPS Virtual College & Career Panels & the Success Boston Alumni Panel. 

Learn more & register
NACAC National College Fair logo; blue and dark blue text that reads "NACAC National College Fairs" on the right with a yellow star with a green trail coming off of it.
Vitas mori. Albus orexiss ducunt ad gabalium. Ubi est altus nomen? Liberi de castus bubo, pugna species! Persuadere diligenter ducunt ad bi-color barcas.

National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) Virtual College Fairs.

Attend virtual college fairs for hundreds of colleges across the US on October 12, October 18 or November 8.

Click here to learn more & register
Racially diverse students of varying genders standing in a row, smiling.
Vitas mori. Albus orexiss ducunt ad gabalium. Ubi est altus nomen? Liberi de castus bubo, pugna species! Persuadere diligenter ducunt ad bi-color barcas.

Success Boston Alumni Career Panel

As part of College & Career Month, this panel will bring together BPS alumni who, with support from Success Boston, recently entered or completed college and are embarking on their careers. Panelists will share their stories of transition and success, their experience and preparation as BPS alumni, and their advice for current students and those who educate and support them. 

Click here to learn more and register

Resources for Families

Families play a key role in the college and career journey for students. The BPS College & Career Month website can connect families with the best college access community and school-based resources available to start the planning process early and often.   

Click here to access family resources.

Key Messages: 

There are many ways to get financial support to attend college!
 
Seniors: The timeline for filling out the FAFSA (to receive financial aid from the federal government) has changed! Now, you can use last year’s tax returns to fill out the forms starting on October 1st! Since the money is given out on a first-come, first served basis, it is really important to fill out the forms as soon as possible so that you can get the maximum amount of money! 


Resources: 

Things to do and know: 

  • On Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, search the hashtag #CollegeMonth and like, share and retweet anything you think students or families in your network will find useful. 
  • Wear your college apparel on Citywide College Pride Day, Thursday October 1st. Don’t forget to take a photo and share on social media with #CollegeMonth, #SuccessBoston, and @BostonSchools. 
  • Make plans now to attend one of the virtual College & Career Fairs. These are free and open to ALL students and families. 
  • For elementary students: Have a class discussion and come up with an itemized list of what you need to pay for while in college. Then discuss the different ways you can pay for college. Ways to pay are through scholarships, grants, work study, loans, a job, or money in a savings account.  
  • For all high school students: Encourage students to log into their Naviance accounts to set S.M.A.R.T. goals for the year and explore all of the resources available to them within the program. 
  • For juniors: Walk them through the FAFSA4caster tool to see how much money they can expect to receive in federal financial aid. Check out videos on the US Dept of Ed’s Student Aid YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/FederalStudentAid  
  • For seniors: Encourage them to find their family’s tax returns from 2019 to start the FAFSA application process on October 1.  
  • For seniors: Help them search for various Boston-based scholarships they might apply for. What is the criteria? What is the timeline for applying? 
  • For seniors: Share with seniors that their college application fees may be able to be waived. Direct them to the College Board’s Fee Waiver page and encourage them to see their guidance counselors for more information. 
  • For all students: share the message that college can be affordable for anyone. Discuss the difference between loans and grants, talk about work study programs, and loan repayment schedules (which tend to be longer term and less interest-bearing than other loans). Discuss the difference between need-based aid and merit-based aid. Have students do some online research into the cost of various schools - state universities, community colleges, private colleges, etc - to gain an understanding of what college costs. 

Key Messages:  

When thinking about your future, dream big! Start by setting goals and envisioning your ideal lifestyle. What are your passions? What makes you happy? What are you good at? Think about what kind of career would both make you happy and allow you to attain the lifestyle you want. What kind of degree do you need in order to enter that career? What kind of college or university do you need to go to? What do you need to do now in order to get accepted? 

What’s the value of a college degree? The ability to earn $1.4 million more throughout your career...than someone who does not have one. 

Did you know? There is a lifetime difference of $1M for earning a college degree. 

There is a career for everyone! Spend time investigating all the possibilities. 

 

Resources & Activites: 

Things to Know & Do This Week: 

STEM:

Key Messages:

Creating opportunities for more students to pursue STEM fields after high school will continue to improve our education system, workforce and economy.

STEM careers are some of the most high-demand job categories in Massachusetts. 

Developing the next generation of leaders in STEM is all about capturing the imagination of kids early and showing them how much fun hands-on science can be. 

During the next 10 years, U.S. industries will demand one million more graduates with STEM backgrounds than the nation’s educational system will generate. 

More than 40 percent of all employment in Massachusetts revolves around innovation industries such as clean energy, information technology, defense, and advanced manufacturing. 


Resources: 


Suggested Activities: 

  • Continue to be active on social media to let others know that October is Success Boston College Month. Help us get new followers and get the message out broadly by liking, retweeting, or sharing our posts. We encourage you to join in by sharing college and career resources, advice, and words of encouragement to all Boston students. Check out our Social Media Toolkit for more ideas. 
  • Visit the BPS College & Career Site for resources and events. Share with students, families, and practitioners. 
  • Make plans now to attend one of the virtual College & Career Fairs. These are free and open to ALL students and families. 
  • Happening this week: BPS Virtual College Fair Panel and Success Boston alumni panel. 
  • My STEM Story: Hear the amazing stories of Black Women who are pursuing a degree in STEM and professional careers in the STEM industry. Engage in conversations on what it means to be a Black woman in STEM, find the courage to uplift your voice, and inspire others to follow their own path. This event is in partnership with Boston Afterschool and Beyond, sySTEMic flow, and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. Attend Experiences from Black Women in College/Graduate School, October 20, 2020  3:00 - 4:00 PM EST via Zoom or The Career Journey of the Professional Black Woman October 21, 2020, 12:00 - 1:00 PM EST via Zoom (or both!).
  • In honor of Latinx Heritage Month please join PEAS, in collaboration with ASA, for a Virtual College 101 Workshop and College Fair on October 22nd, 5:00 - 7:30PM.
  • Personalize Online Learning with LabXchange Webinar: Join us for this public webinar to learn how LabXchange can support differentiated, student-centered online learning. During the webinar, you will: Take a guided tour of the different ways both educators and students can use LabXchange to personalize learning; Learn how the classes feature of LabXchange protects student privacy while providing opportunities for digital collaboration; See examples of how teachers have used LabXchange to support remote learning and development of lab skills. Happening on Monday, October 19th, 3:30-4:30PM
  • Join us for a virtual STEM Week kickoff event to empower future STEM leaders from the Boston Public Schools! It's more important than ever to make sure that all students have access to high-quality STEM work and learning opportunities. Dr. Fox Harrell will provide the keynote address focused on equity in STEM, followed by a panel of students discussing innovative ways that STEM education is continuing during the pandemic. Together, we can expand access to STEM career pathways for Boston youth, and inspire the next generation of STEM professionals. Monday, October 19th, 4:30-5:30PM
  • Going Virtual: Stories from STEM Student Interns: Please join the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC), in partnership with State Street Corporation, for a STEM Week student panel showcase. This event will highlight Boston Public Schools students’ voices, across Boston’s key sectors. Students will discuss their summer internship and learning experiences, with a specific focus on working virtually during the pandemic. Please see attached flyer and feel free to share with anyone who might be interested! Tuesday, October 20th, 3-4PM
  • BPS STEM Town Hall: Boston Public Schools will be hosting a virtual event for families, BPS educators, administrators, central office, and corporate partners. The purpose of this event is to provide a clear definition, mission, and vision of what STEM means in and for Boston Public Schools. There will be a 10-minute presentation, followed by a Q&A with a panel of BPS Educators & BPS Partner and then an opportunity for the audience to ask questions of the presenters and a panel. Thursday, October 22nd, 6-7:30PM  
  • For school students: Implement a week-long, immersive STEM experience for middle schoolers, in partnership with i2 Learning.
  • For middle and high school students: Sponsor coding activities to promote participation in Hour of Code.
  • For high school students: Participate in the MATLAB STEM Challenge. High school students learn to code in MATLAB and are then tasked to create their own fitness tracker.  
  • For high school students: Arrange a field trip to a research lab or factory floor, or invite employers in to talk with high schoolers about internship opportunities through MA STEM@Work, part of Connecting Activities. 
  • For all students: Attend the MassRobotics Robot Block Party in Boston’s Seaport District on Saturday, October 20th. 
  • For all students: Organize a webinar to inform girls about Mass TLC’s annual Technovation competition (http://masstlcef.org/technovation/
  • For all students: Invite manufacturing/engineering students from a local vocational-technical program to put on a robotics demonstration. 
  • For educators: Learn more about the Boston Scratch Educator Meetup to play, learn, and connect with K-12 educators around teaching with Scratch, a free online programming tool through which students can creatively explore Computer Science concepts by creating interactive media (like stories, games, animations, and simulations) and sharing those creations with others online.


Alumni Engagement:

Key Messages:

A college or career school education often means more money, more job options, and more freedom in your life after high school! 

The college experience can lead to opportunities that not only benefit the student, but the entire family! 

More employers are requiring a college degree for their job openings 

Some studies show that college can result in healthier and happier lives! 

Resources:

Suggested Activities:

  • On Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, search the hashtag #CollegeMonth or #SuccessBoston and like, share and retweet anything you think students or families in your network will find useful. 
  • For elementary and middle school: Depending on the level of students, have 4 stations with a poster and post-its. Each poster has the following questions; why is going to college important to me? How do I think going to college will affect my life? Who are the adults in my life that can help me go to college? What questions do I still have about going to college? Have whole class discussions about students’ responses. Continue to keep the posters up so that students can continue to add answers and spark conversation between students.  
  • Share your college story on social media or with a young person you know: What do you remember about the college application process? Where did you apply? Which school did you end up going to? Why? What was college like for you? What did you study? How did your college experience help you get where you are today? What advice do you have? Make sure to tag your posts with #CollegeMonth or #SucessBoston!  
  • For elementary students: Read and discuss the book Mahalia Mouse Goes to College by Timothy Lithgow, a New York Times Bestselling author.  
  • For middle and high school students: Explore US News & World Report, Businessweek, Forbes and other college ranking lists to learn about which institutions might be best for you and your family. 
  • For middle and high school: Watch First Generation, an award-winning documentary following the lives of 4 students who want to be the first generation in their families to attend college.  
  • For all students: Invite a current college student, a parent, or the principal to come to discuss college with your students. 

Key Messages:  

Recently, communities across the Commonwealth have adopted MyCAP (My Career and Academic Plan) as a process and an instrument to identify, coordinate, and implement the supports necessary for student growth in three domains (personal/social, academic planning, and career development). MyCAP has been shown to increase student engagement, understanding of relevance between classroom learning and postsecondary goals, connection to their school community, and pursuit of opportunities aligned with their postsecondary goals, such as work-based learning and early college. The October 2020 College & Career Month will serve as a mechanism to help students understand the importance of beginning the postsecondary planning process early and engaging their families, counselors, teachers, partners, and mentors in their journey.  

MassCore: In Massachusetts, there is a list of courses that students are encouraged to take to ensure that they are ready for college. The recommended program of studies includes: 4 years of English, 4 years of Math, 3 years of a lab-based Science, 3 years of history, 2 years of the same foreign language, 1 year of an arts program and 5 additional "core" courses such as business education, health, and/or technology.  

9th-11th graders: Begin looking at admission requirements for different colleges you want to apply for. Make sure you have the high school courses you need, figure out what SAT scores and GPAs you will need, as well as what kind of volunteer or work experience will make you a good candidate. 

9th-12th graders: Sign up to attend one of the remaining Virtual College Fairs to meet representatives from area colleges and universities 

9th-10th graders: Talk with your PIC career specialist and counselor about building your resume in Naviance today! You can keep track of your extra-curricular activities, sports, and more. 

There is a college for everyone! Typically, high school students create three lists of schools: target schools (past applicants’ grades, SAT/ACT scores are similar to you), reach schools (that are less likely to admit you than target schools, but are worth trying for), and safety schools (which are more likely to admit you and will serve as a safety net in case your other options don’t work out). Use the resources linked below to help you start exploring your options! 

 

Resources: 

 

Suggested Activities: 

  • On Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, search the hashtag #CollegeMonth or #SuccessBoston and like, share and retweet anything you think students or families in your network will find useful. 
  • For lower elementary students: Have students discuss and learn about their path (graduate elementary school, middle school, and high school) to college and what they might need to pack for it. Detailed lesson and visuals are available.  
  • For elementary students: Students get to create their own fantasy college. Detailed lesson and fantasy college outline available.  
  • For elementary students: Start a class discussion about how in order to reach our goal of going to college, we must make smaller immediate goals to build up to the big ones. Students write SMART academic goals with a plan of action and an accomplish date. Detailed lesson with templates and smartboard activity available.  
  • For elementary students: Have 3 essay questions from the Common App for your students to choose to write about. Depending on the level you may need to modify the questions. Be sure to highlight the importance of choosing the question they can write the most passionately about and with clear detail.  
  • For high school students: Have students make their own resume. These resumes are helpful to give to teachers who they ask to write a recommendation. They can enter their resumes on Naviance.  
  • For high school students: Check out LinkedIn. Who are the adults who are doing the work you’re interested in doing? Connect to build your professional network. Check out LinkedIn’s Checklist for High School Students. 
  • For all students: Download a copy of the Common Application (used to apply to over 700 colleges and universities nationwide) and lead an age-appropriate discussion about different part of the application. For example, look at essay questions, basic requirements, and talk about the need for including references.  
  • For all students: Students conduct research to look up famous people, the college they went to, and what they studied. Then use the research to create a “Guess where I went to college” flap board.