At the current rate I am paying for my college loans and unforeseen new costs that arise in my family, I might be able to have them paid off by the time my daughter goes to college in 2030. Unfortunately, I am not the only poor sucker in this scenario in America. Many of us are struggling set money aside and gain wealth or equity. High school seniors are capable of falling into the same illustration as shown above. Plus, there are scholarship dollars out there not being collected. This is a monumental problem. If it doesn’t get addressed soon, the next generation will begin their lives in debt.
How do we connect more students to scholarship dollars?
One strategy I have come up with is utilizing social media to connect students to scholarship dollars. In 2012, I began went to where students spend much of their time — Twitter. During cross country practice and after wrestling practice my students were Tweeting left and right. It was only 140 characters, but it was taking up a large source of their time. So, lets connect the two worlds. I began Tweeting scholarship opportunities, but I wasn’t getting much response because it was no different than hearing about scholarship on the loud speaker at school. They needed to get to the scholarship application after practice or while on their break at their part-time job.
Share and share often was my model. In class I share documents (notes, Power Points, vocabulary, podcasts) with kids to see at all hours. Why not the same with scholarship applications? Instantly, it became a success with numerous clicks (recorded by using Hoot Suite, another social media program I recommend you to check out). Now students can access the applications, read the guidelines, and submit most scholarships online to our guidance counselors.
After the first year, I had over 200 clicks on the applications and 150 Twitter followers within the first year.
My superintendent wrote in his staff bulletin: It is with immense pride and satisfaction that I announce this year’s total scholarship awards for the Class of 2013 – $4,130,676! This constitutes an impressive 40% gain over last year ($2,940,303), and was accomplished by several dozen fewer graduates.
2013-2014: Scholarship Gains
Thus far, we are continuing the same strategy and keeping track of submitted applications and dollar amount being offered to our students. Hopefully, we’ll continue to see great gains in scholarship dollars for our students because no one wants to carry student loan debt on their shoulders.
Follow @DCPS_Scholar on Twitter (400 followers and growing)