College Planning Resources

College planning is never simple, and it needs to be a team effort. These TeachersFirst-reviewed resources can help parents and students take the steps that are important to a successful college search.

 

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Skype - Skype Technologies S.A.

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Every teen and college student knows Skype, the free tool for making calls from computer to computer anywhere in the world. By downloading and installing free software and setting up...more
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Every teen and college student knows Skype, the free tool for making calls from computer to computer anywhere in the world. By downloading and installing free software and setting up a free account, you can talk and/or make a video call to a similarly equipped computer elsewhere in the world for free. Skype uses a lot of "bandwidth" so is not suitable for very slow networks or dial up connections. It may also be slow at high-traffic times on a good network. Some patience and pretesting is required before you can be sure it will work for your needs. Connect to classrooms, experts, authors, virtual special speakers, or interview subjects using Skype.

tag(s): virtual field trips (55), webcams (7)

In the Classroom

Download and install the Skype software. If you are not allowed to install software on school computers, ask to have a single laptop available that is Skype-capable so you can borrow it or else explain to your principal that you are planning a series of Skype visits in your classroom so your techies will install it in your classroom. You will need a computer with built-in or separate microphone and speakers and optional webcam. If you plan to use a webcam, you must know how to start it. A single teacher-controlled Skype account will work in most school settings.

If you prefer written directions go to Help >> Step by Step Help to get started. Or ask a student to show you (without seeing your password). You will need to explore the tools in Skype to locate where to enter the SKYPE name of the person you wish to call, start the call, and answer calls. Do NOT set your copy of Skype to "remember me" on a school computer! If students are to participate in the Skype call, you may want to have a "hot seat" at the Skyping computer so they can sit at a mike so their questions will pick up better for the person at the other end.

Be sure to set Skype so it does not open every time you start up the computer. Manually start the program when needed and do not leave an obvious Skype icon on the desktop for "clever" students to find. Protect your password -- do not post it on the computer. A teacher-controlled account is best for Skype classroom use to prevent unauthorized calls by students. Your user name will show on the screen for students to see, so be aware of that when you create your account.

Anything you can do by telephone or video call you can do on a projector with your entire class. Connect the Skyping computer to a projector or whiteboard for the entire class to see if you are using video. (The video will be fuzzy, but good enough to follow a person's face.) Use Skype to talk to authors (check out their web sites or this blog for contact information). Have students write questions in advance. Use your contacts, web page "contact us" emails, and parent contacts to find others willing to Skype into your classroom. Interview scientists or government officials, deployed military personnel, or classes far away in a different culture or language. Younger students can compare weather, family life, community events, and more. Learn other ideas for using Skype in your classroom

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Study Stack - John Weidner

Grades
4 to 12
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This site is filled with study tools to help students learn information in a variety of subject areas. Stacks of topics related to geography, history, math, languages, medical, tests...more
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This site is filled with study tools to help students learn information in a variety of subject areas. Stacks of topics related to geography, history, math, languages, medical, tests (SAT, ACT, etc.), science and more are linked with collections of learning tools that include virtual study cards, matching games, word search puzzles, and hangman games. There really is something here for nearly all subject areas and grade levels! Students can select the tool that works best for them and work at their own pace until they are satisfied with their progress. If you can't find a stack to fit your needs, you can edit existing lists or create customized study stacks. The site also allows you to print out study cards, or export flash cards to study them via cell phones, PDA, or iPod. Email the stacks to peers or connect with Study Stack through Facebook. Some of the activities require Java. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): flash cards (44), greek (41), hebrew (20), latin (22), test prep (97), vocabulary (319)

In the Classroom

Encourage parents to use this site as a study-at-home tool for their students. Link your blog or website to this site by entering your url at the bottom of the homepage. Make sure your guidance counselor at your school is aware of this site as a tool for studying those college entrance tests. Be sure to save this site in your favorites.

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Academic Earth - Academic Earth

Grades
10 to 12
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Ever wonder what it would be like to have open access to lectures at Harvard? Stanford? MIT? Academic Earth gives you that access in a limited fashion. This site contains ...more
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Ever wonder what it would be like to have open access to lectures at Harvard? Stanford? MIT? Academic Earth gives you that access in a limited fashion. This site contains thousands of video lectures by some of the most well regarded professors at several of the top universities in the US. You can sort the lectures by subject, by lecturer, by university, or by "playlist." The playlists sort lectures from various topics and multiple professors into thematic groups. Within individual subjects there are individual lectures and courses--collections of lectures by the same professor on a general subject. Watch a lecture on "The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877," or "The American Novel since 1945," or "Linear Algebra." The topic possibilities go on and on. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): college (49)

In the Classroom

These are college-level lectures given at Ivy-league universities. The subject matter and the complexity of the subject matter will be beyond many high school students, and the delivery format (video-taped lecture) means there is a certain "MEGO" (my eyes glaze over) effect when viewing these offerings. However, for gifted or academically talented students, these lectures may be exactly the kind of enrichment they have been thirsting for. Provide a link to these lectures for times when a student or two has gotten way ahead of the rest of the class. Let parents know about this site for home use. Refer students who are doing in-depth research. And in your own copious free time, check one out yourself! It may provide an idea or two to apply to an upcoming lesson of your own.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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College Grazing - College Grazing

Grades
9 to 12
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This site is another entry into the college search market. Designed to provide resources to prospective students, their parents, and their teachers or guidance counselors, the site...more
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This site is another entry into the college search market. Designed to provide resources to prospective students, their parents, and their teachers or guidance counselors, the site offers the usual links to financial aid information, advice on writing college essays and career guidance. Many of the links lead directly to resources developed by the US Department of Education or the US Department of Labor; reliable sources, but nothing new or innovative here. The fresh content here is a series of 13 short self-discovery quizzes that purport to help students sort out their feelings about college, and determine their relative readiness to attend. In keeping with the "grazing" theme (complete with cow logos and illustrations), these quizzes are called "munchings." It's kind of hokey, but it may be catchy enough to be effective. Once the student has completed all 13 "munchings," the site will generate a personalized report summarizing student responses. What is produced might generate interesting discussion among students or within families.

Using the site requires a log in (be sure to enable "cookies"). Log-in requires some personal information (first name, surname, email address, and description - if you are a student, parent, or teacher). Check with your administrator about allowing the students to register for this site using their own names. You may wish to set up a class registration instead of entering true data into the registration site. Another option is to create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

There is no charge for using the site, and advertising is very minimal and fairly unobtrusive. Parts of this website require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): college (49), financial aid (16)

In the Classroom

Completing the 13 "munchings" might make a good independent assignment for college bound students, followed by some sort of reflection essay. The tips for writing a good college application essay might also prove helpful in a writing class. We'll pretend we didn't think about what generally results when a cow digests its "munchings" and hope for a higher quality end product.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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A+ Research & Writing Step-by-Step - Kathryn L. Schwartz

Grades
9 to 12
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Do you want to appeal to those students who are afraid of the whole research and writing process? How about those who just don't know how to pick a topic, ...more
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Do you want to appeal to those students who are afraid of the whole research and writing process? How about those who just don't know how to pick a topic, or narrow the focus? Are you dreading walking your students through the citation part? This site enables students to go through the process of writing a research paper from choosing a topic through writing the paper, revising, proofreading, and final submission. What makes this site appealing is the use of great graphics and the very simple, one-step-at-a-time approach that makes paper writing less daunting. Links take students to college-specific sites for interactive organizational tools such as mapping and outlining.

In the Classroom

This site helps you help your students and them students to work at their own pace through the pieces that are difficult for them. Use the entire site as a guide for you research process or select different pieces of this site as models when you teach research papers so students can practice right then and there "how to do it." Be sure to include the link on your teacher web page so parents can support students as they approach deadline-panic (and you know some will procrastinate, no matter what you do).

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Log It - PECentral

Grades
K to 12
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Encourage fitness for the digital natives, using a high-tech tool they will love! Log It is a site that encourages physical activity by allowing students to keep a record ...more
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Encourage fitness for the digital natives, using a high-tech tool they will love! Log It is a site that encourages physical activity by allowing students to keep a record of the steps they walk each day. Other benefits include allowing them to participate in a virtual walk across the U.S. with other students, set up their own goals, or participate in class goals set up by the teacher. Both students themselves and their teachers can register their miles at school or from home! Though the site introducation mentions elementary and middle school students, it also says college classes and corporations are welcome to join, as well.

With this site, students become aware of their daily physical activity and also participate in group competitions within their classroom or participate in one of several competitions across the U.S. The site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): competitions (13)

In the Classroom

Teachers must register their school and their class first before students can participate. Be sure to get parent permission before allowing students to register and plan for the logistics of letting students enter their miles. Help your students register and set individual or classroom goals. Make it a competition with the homeroom next door or throughout your school. Be sure to put this link and log-in information on your teacher web page for students, parents, and others to access outside of class.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Survival Guide for New Teachers - US Dept of Ed

Grades
K to 12
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This comprehensive guide provides ideas and positive support for all aspects of your fledgling teaching career: from parents to college loan debt. College faculty may also want to share...more
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This comprehensive guide provides ideas and positive support for all aspects of your fledgling teaching career: from parents to college loan debt. College faculty may also want to share it with prospective teachers and student teachers.

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My Hero - My Hero Project

Grades
K to 12
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Looking for an online project-based interactive website that encourages literacy and cross-cultural communication? Looking for an alternative culminating project or process writing...more
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Looking for an online project-based interactive website that encourages literacy and cross-cultural communication? Looking for an alternative culminating project or process writing project for your secondary classes? Trying to help your high school juniors and seniors create an interesting college "essay" or portfolio piece? Join other adults and children from around the world by adding your essay, artwork or video about a hero on this non-profit, ad-free web site. You and your students can use this site with basic word processing knowledge -- or take it further if you are more technically capable.Site registration is required. Site is available in Spanish. Flash, Acrobat Reader and Quicktime are required. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): gifted (83), heroes (24), writing (366)

In the Classroom

Be sure to visit the Teacher's Resource section for helpful hints and links. Use any word processing program to type essays, then copy and paste into the My Hero class page. Provide a link to the class page on your teacher web page so students, parents, and relatives can read the essays. As always follow your district policies regarding posting student work on the Internet. It is HIGHLY advisable to get written parent permission for such a project!

Very young students could work together as a class to write their entry. Older students and those with more technology available will definitely want to try the videos! If you know iMovie or Windows Moviemaker, this is a terrific project. It is well-suited for gifted students, as well.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Understanding University Success

Grades
8 to 12
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While there's a wealth of "common knowledge" about what it takes to succeed in higher education, specific discussions of the factors and preparation that let students succeed is harder...more
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While there's a wealth of "common knowledge" about what it takes to succeed in higher education, specific discussions of the factors and preparation that let students succeed is harder to find. Developed by a consortium of leading universities, this online PDF reference is the sort of reading that counselors, parents, and students should have available when they begin to plan their high school careers.

tag(s): college (49)

In the Classroom

Guidance counselors will find this one especially useful.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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