Just Released: Graduate 2.0! A College Planning Guide to Success

On October 11, 2016, the US Department of Education and the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics released its second installment titled, Graduate 2.0! A College Planning Guide to Success. As an advocate for education and a Latina mother, I was impressed reading through the 25 page guide.

“This guide is a continuation of the historic investments the Obama Administration has made since day one to advance Latino student success from cradle to career,” stated U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. Graduate 2.0! A College Planning Guide to Success can be a great resource for anyone navigating through the college application process, but I think it will be an especially invaluable resource for Latinos.

Facilitating the Process for You.

As I read through the guide, a lot of the vocabulary, the resources, and the advice sounded very familiar to me having just gone through the college application process with my daughter last year. I was pleased to see so many of the resources that my daughter and I had to spend a lot of time searching for or learning about through different sources all conveniently gathered in one place. It’s one resource that can guide you through an entire process. At a time when we’re heading towards a job market where the majority of jobs will require a post-secondary education, a resource like this can be very important in helping you get started in the right direction.

How Will It Help Me?

For starters, you will gain so much insight as to what’s to be expected of the college application process such as when you should take your ACT or SAT exams and the benefit of taking the PSAT exam. The guide explains how to request transcripts and letters of recommendation in a timely manner. Preparing your college admissions essay and your resume are also covered. When you should apply for financial aid and tips for filling out the FAFSA are included. There’s advice on what kinds of questions you should be asking to find the colleges that best suit you, along with tips about what comes after you have received acceptance letters. You will also benefit from many direct links to important resources that you will use to research colleges, learn about financial aid, learn about mandatory exams, fee waivers and more.

All of High School Matters

Aside from what you’ll learn, the guide also reminds us to encourage our children to start off in high school strong and end strong. From the classes they take to the grade point average that they earn to the extracurricular activities that they get involved with, everything matters when it’s time to build a strong college resume and college application.

Support and Encouragement Can Make All The Difference

The goal is to apply and graduate from college. As a Latino community, we need to support and encourage our sons, daughters, cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends through the college application process. And we need to continue to provide that same support and encouragement throughout their post-secondary education until they graduate and receive their degree. Our support and encouragement can make all the difference in our children’s education.

It’s available, so let’s use it!

Let’s learn how to better guide and support our children through the college application process by taking advantage of this tool. “It is a culturally relevant resource for students, families and educators that will help us ensure information does not become a barrier to enrolling and graduating from college.” stated Alejandra Ceja, Executive Director for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Through a better understanding of the college application process, support, and encouragement, we can work together to increase the current statistics that are given in this guide. Only 23% of Latinos 25 and older hold an associate degree or higher, and only 12% of Latinos hold an advanced degree. WORKING TOGETHER, WE WILL CHANGE THESE STATISTICS.

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Monica Luna Gonzalez

Monica Luna Gonzalez

Monica Luna Gonzalez is a mom of two children. Her oldest is a high school senior and her youngest is not quite ready for school- he prefers the sandbox these days. She was a teen mom who graduated from Bell High School despite the challenges that came from being a teen mom. She wishes she would have been prepared for college right after high school which is why she wants to help other Latinas improve their children's chances for a better education. She is a non-traditional college student as she returned to college 18 years after graduating from high school.

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