By Divya Raghavan
Earlier this year, NerdScholar was selected as a winner of the College Knowledge Challenge, a competitive grant initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The College Knowledge Challenge is a partnership between the Gates Foundation, College Summit, and the King Center Charter School. With the help of the College Knowledge Challenge, we developed the FAFSA Community, a three-part resource to help students fill out the FAFSA and apply for financial aid. By improving the accessibility of federal financial aid to low income and first generation college students, we hope to help more students get into college.
The College Knowledge Challenge has produced 19 programs that help students every step of the way from high school to college graduation. NerdScholar’s FAFSA Community has resources you need to apply for financial aid, and the other winners provide everything else you need to get to college, covering everything from exploring schools to financing your education to transferring to another university. College Summit has released a roadmap to college that outlines all of these resources. Here are a few of our favorites:
Explore colleges with Applyful
Applyful provides complete and engaging profiles of various schools, including diverse resources such as pictures from Instagram, typical cost and financial aid package information, average test scores of accepted applicants, and recent news regarding the college. Students can also use the site to organize their applications and college choices. Applyful won the Audience Choice Award at the College Knowledge Challenge Launch Event.
Earn scholarships with Raise
Winner of the Student Choice Award at the College Knowledge Challenge Launch Event, Raise allows students to accrue micro-scholarships throughout high school that they can redeem upon graduation. Most traditional scholarships are awarded at the end of high school, much too late to affect students’ college choices. Raise reinvents scholarships, allowing students to access small scholarships for tasks such as improving grades, volunteering, filling out the FAFSA or learning to code. The student’s progress is tracked and tallied in an online dashboard, customized for each individual student.
Plan your transfer with Transfer Bootcamp
Started by former community college transfer student Diane Melville, Transfer Bootcamp looks to automate the transfer process of community college student looking to attend four-year universities. Students simply answer 3 easy questions—the name of their current school, major, and the school they want to transfer into—and the app gives students an exact plan of what classes to take as well as a task manager. The app gives a transfer plan based on the unique goals of the student. Many students, particularly low-income and first-generation students, start out at community colleges because they provide an affordable education option, then transfer to four-year universities. Transfer Bootcamp helps community college students choose which courses to take to become a competitive transfer applicant.
Get student perspectives with Unigo
Unigo offers student perspectives on universities, even ranking universities according to student votes. Unigo sets up prospective applicants with real-life college students so that you can get all your questions answered. With over 100,000 college reviews, the site offers comprehensive, easily navigable reviews and rankings.