Monday, November 24, 2008

Scholarship Workshops in December

During the month of December, I conduct scholarship workshops at the local library in the computer lab.

This workshop is not limited by age, student grades, or any other screening factor our students may encounter as they age out of the school system. If parents come with their student, the student gets seated at the computer, parents and guardians sit behind their student. This workshop is about empowering the student. No parent is excluded, participative parenting is encouraged. Sometimes parents return to college at the same time as their young adult student.

After our introductions, we review the presentation using Google Docs, discuss creating a MeFolios, GA College 411, answer questions together, then go out into the library to the reference book section about colleges, scholarships, certifications, internships, and apprenticeships. We also visit the 370 series where books can be checked out and taken home to read for those who prefer to avoid the computer and have a library card.

This year the Scholarship Workshops will be held at Diamond Lakes Library on Wednesdays in December. December 3, 10, 17 2008.

People ask, "Why in December"? Why not? The holidays are here, school breaks are in December...but only for those residential F2F (face to face) schools. You see...I am a non traditional online graduate student and a parent. Looking for supplemental college funds is just another part of our lives, whether school is in or out of session. There is not one particular time of the year that is better for us, but I remember wishing someone would have provided this opportunity for us. I have sat in scholarship workshops where some adult read the FAFSA form to me, read a PowerPoint presentation to me, or limited my participation because of my daughter's age. I decided to create a participative computer workshop. The public schools wouldn't let me in or the ones that would blocked Google docs and other sites we needed to visit, so I found a fit for everyone...our local library. Wi-Fi is even available at this library, so when the computer workstations are full as they usually are, Wi-Fi is available for everyone with a smart phone, a net book, or a lap top/notebook.

Another reason the workshops are in December is to encourage our students and parents to discuss taxes. Students apply for scholarships and colleges. When they fill out the FAFSA, online or print version, there is a section about parents' income. Parents be real with your young adults. They may have qualified for free or reduced lunch while in public school and while maintaining that status in high school also provided free or reduced SAT testing fees and waived some college application fees but it is time to be real with your students.

Students in high school today need to know about insurance (medical, dental, life, auto), what happens when they turn 18, what do they do if something happens. While our young adult's age may put them in a legal adult status so they are can apply for student loans, fill out credit card applications, vote, and/or join the military, turning 18 doesn't make you wise beyond your just makes you legally responsible for your actions. For some young adults turning 18 brings on the real world school house, the school of hard knocks, or a gateway to military freedom. So parents, guardians, grandparents...take the time to connect with your young adult, share your lessons learned and listen to their concerns.

So if you are in the area...stop by the library. And if you are not in the library, you can stay at home, register for the workshop by calling the library and we will share the presentation with you as a dL* participant.

If you have lessons learned that you would like to share, please do. As usual, your comments, suggestions, recommendations are always welcome.

*dL - Acronym from the Army for distrubutive learning with an emphasis on the capital L for learning and less focus on the transition of the d from distance to distributive.
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