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New site turns applying to college into a game

LatinaLista — Though it may seem that school just barely started, for many high school juniors and seniors it’s the time of year to start thinking about college. For low-income students, the idea of going to college can be overwhelming — for both students and their parents.

That’s why the University of Southern California created Collegeology, a web site that uses games to help guide families through the preparation and admission processes.

The Collegeology Games project strives to create playful ways to understand the systems essential to accessing higher education. Collegeology Games provide a safe environment to learn and experiment with higher education strategies and choices before it really counts.

The only drawback to the games is that they are not free. The first game produced and available at the site is called “Application Crunch.” A single set for a family costs about $30 while a classroom set is more expensive. There is even an option for someone to buy the game and donate it to a family or school.

Application Crunch is a card game for 3-4 players. Each player takes the role of a unique high school senior trying to get into college. Players choose how to divide their time between academics, extracurricular activities, work, and service while competing for college applications and scholarships.

The game, and ones under development, are research-based to be relevant to low-income students and better help them get into college.

Next year, a Facebook app of the Application Crunch will be made available.

Knowing that not all low-income families can afford a $30 card game, the site has a form for people to fill out to see if they qualify for a complimentary copy of the card game.

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