Tuesday, May 28, 2013

6 free resources to help you get the most out of your college education

PAY FOR COLLEGE: Edisa lists six resources you can use
to help you with your college education
We wanted to share a guest blog post from Edisa Rodriguez, Manager of College Access Programs at the Mayor's Office of Education. We often work with her and the Mayor's Office on education initiatives and events throughout Philadelphia to help all city residents achieve their dream of earning a college degree.

My mom went back to college as an adult. Her job offered to pay for a few courses at the local community college where we lived in Framingham, Mass. Even though she was raising me, my toddler sister, and working full time, she jumped on board when a few friends decided to pursue the opportunity as well.

At the time, my mom barely spoke English, computers were as foreign as apple pie, and no one in our household knew that Microsoft Excel existed. But despite the obstacles, she made it through her courses. She came out on the other side with good grades and college certificates that helped her earn promotions and a great career at her job.

My mom's experience as an adult learner taught me to make things happen and gave me one basic lesson that has gotten me through so many obstacles: use my resources. When my mom couldn't understand part of the lecture, she leaned over and asked a friend. When she couldn't make an Excel table, she asked a colleague to come over and teach us. She befriended her professor and, when she did her homework, she brought it to her early to get it checked prior to submitting it for grading.

My mom isn't perfect, but she used her resources to get the best results from her college experience. If you're facing obstacles in your college completion process, maybe even obstacles that were even greater than the ones my mom faced, USE YOUR RESOURCES. Here are just a few if you're looking for a little help in your college pursuit:

Graduate! Philadelphia
For: Adults with some college credit
Location: 1211 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia
Phone: 215-498-1504
Graduate! Philadelphia provides one-on-one advising, guidance, coaching, and support to adults seeking to get a college degree. Representatives from the organization will go through every part of the process with you -- all the way through college completion! It also has several locations throughout Philadelphia. You can find them on their website or call to make an appointment and ask for the location nearest you.

The Educational Opportunity Center
For: Adults 19 and older with no college credit
Location: 1617 JFK Blvd, Suite 425, Philadelphia
Phone: 215-246-3505 or 215-246-3507 (Spanish only)
This office, located in Center City, was created to support anyone over the age of 19 with no college credit who is interested in pursuing their degree. This is a great resource for incoming freshmen who have yet to start their classes. The organization can help you explore college programs, complete financial aid forms, find scholarships, and plan your educational/career program.

For: Anyone looking to get a college degree
Location: City Hall, Room 115, Philadelphia
Phone: 215-686-0315
The PhillyGoes2College office and website are a centralized location where you can find out about all the free resources this city has to offer. Visit the website to review the college process or check out the events calendar to see what is going on. They are updated regularly with free resources in Philadelphia, including financial aid workshops, career guidance, and upcoming scholarships that might apply to you.

The College Access Program
For: Anyone interested in pursuing higher education, regardless of age, grade level, or location
Location: The Gallery I, Street Level, 9th & Market Streets, Philadelphia
Phone: 215-574-1341
The College Access Program aims to provide resources to anyone interested in obtaining their college degree. Visit its offices for individualized support at its public College Access and Success Center. The center offers free computers for college, career, and financial aid opportunities; personalized college advising, college prep, and career development workshops; financial aid and scholarship assistance; and standardized testing materials and guidance.

Veterans Upward Bound (VUB)
For: Military veterans who want to transition into higher education
Phone: 215-898-6892
Veterans Upward Bound is a pre-college program to prepare eligible veterans to enter college, be successful in college, and to graduate from college. The VUB emulates the college experience, so military veterans can assimilate into a college experience slowly. The organization offers classes in literature, math, science, and computers, as well as tutoring, counseling, and support events.

Peirce College’s Campus
Lastly, always tap into the resources on Peirce’s campus. Be sure to work closely with your academic advisor, your financial aid representative, your professors, and anyone who is there to support you. They took on these jobs for a reason! They are there to help!

If you have any questions for how to access these resources, feel free to leave a comment below or reach out to Uva Coles, Vice President, Student Services via email and she’ll be happy to help.

Edisa Rodriguez was born in the Dominican Republic, and was raised in New York City and a suburb of Boston. She moved to Philadelphia to attend Bryn Mawr College. She currently works in the Mayor's Office of Education as the Manager of College Access Programs. She spends most of her free time studying for the GMAT, and has loved the past decade of getting to know Philadelphia and the wonderful people in it.