If you attended the ASCA Conference or followed the #NOTATASCA twitter posts, school counselors were inspired by the First Lady to reach higher and help first generation students complete their post secondary education.  In this post, I would like to share some of the tools and resources that school counselors can use to help your students reach this goal.

Educational Resources

I’m First – Tool for First Generation Students to reach their dream of post-secondary options.


Hear Us Out Project – In 2010, a survey was given to high school students in Seattle and Chattanooga regarding college.  The results from this survey include information that can help first generation students in their post secondary plans.
Some tips for school counselors:

  • Start planning for post secondary goals before the junior or senior year.

  • Provide more education about financial aid.

  • Talk to all students about post-secondary options early as possible.

  • Include the family of lower income students in your conversations.

  • Create a college going culture in your school.

  • Provide mentors for first generation students like the Near Peer Program.

  • Educate students on the tasks that need to be completed each year.

College Goal Sunday – Consider holding a free event to assist families in applying for the FAFSA. 
Each year, our county participates in this free event  where families are invited to attend.  At the event, parents and students are able to get free assistance in completing the FAFSA, offered financial aid resources for college, and students can even win a scholarship for attending the event!
Financial Aid Toolkit for School Counselors – Counselors can receive free training and support to assist families in completing financial aid for college.
Education Planner – Use this free resource to help high school students learn and explore careers. Students can see the fastest growing jobs in the nation, career videos, and take career assessments.
Cappex – Assist students in finding scholarships that match their interests and strengths.

College Grazing – A resource that provides free surveys and provides lesson plans for school counselors to use with students in grades 9-12.

College Week Live – Free resource to help students connect with college admission counselors.
Apply to College Early Event – Create and hold an event to help seniors to apply to college early.  At this event, invite college representatives and volunteers.  We have a state-wide event each year, but consider creating your own using our state guide.
National College Fairs – Free college fairs around the US that allow students to meet and talk with college recruiters.
College Access and Success for Students Experiencing Homelessness Toolkit – Assist homeless students with the financial aid process and much more with this toolkit.  There is even information about what to do if parents cannot or will not sign the FAFSA.
Advising Undocumented Students – Need advice on helping undocumented students attend college?  Get all the information you need in this document.
Unaccompanied Youth Toolkit for High School Counselors – Learn about McKinney Vento and how it applies to unaccompanied minors trying to attend high school.  Also includes information about the McKinney Vento FAFSA Week event.
Providing Effective Financial Aid Assistance to Students from Foster Care – This document provides guidance on helping students in foster care or who are unaccompanied receive financial aid.

 Project Grad – Assists low income students with academic, community, and financial assistance in the following states: Georgia, New Jersey, California, Ohio, Texas, Alaska, New York, and Tennessee.
 Military One -Providing financial aid information for children of military families.

 Mental Health Resources

 Helping Borderlanders – Resources to help immigrant children access mental health services.
Refugee Services Toolkit – Provides resources for counselors and mental health clinicians when working with refugees.
Working with Military Families During Times of Deployment – Course for professionals who work with families in times of deployment.

Other Partners

College Advising Corp – College advisors work with schools to increase the number of first generation students to college.
Do you have additional resources you can share with other school counselors? 

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