Despite the current world situation, UChicago registered student organizations (RSOs) that work with high school students are still doing everything they can to have a positive impact. Two of these organizations, Bridge to College and Moneythink, have set up online platforms to reach a wider audience. I’m involved with both of these organizations, and I’d like to share with you a little bit about what they do and why they’re so important to me.
Bridge to College helps high school students through the college application process. As a first-generation college student, I had to do a lot of research before even starting my applications. Bridge to College exists to help students like me who may feel overwhelmed or who may have never considered going to college. During the school year, they hold “College Days,” during which students from public schools in Chicago visit campus for a tour, participate in different workshops, and attend a panel lunch.
The board of Bridge to College meets every week to go over the details of College Day and brainstorm ideas for further involvement with high schools. While those logistical details are important, College Day would not be possible without the volunteers who help to run the tour and give insight during the panel lunch.
I knew this was the right RSO for me as soon as I helped lead my first College Day. Preparing for each College Day is definitely a lot of work, but in the end, the students I got to help made it all worth it. I got to know around 25 students from a nearby Chicago public school as I talked to them about my own college application process and participated in the panel lunch. I loved getting to answer questions and share my experiences as a UChicago student.
In response to quarantine confining everyone to their homes, Bridge to College launched an online platform to continue providing resources to students. Their website has blog posts and videos with tips for applying to college. I have been a part of Bridge to College since the beginning of my first year because I want to give back to students who feel the same way I once felt. After seeing how helpful College Day is, I am now writing blog posts for the website with tips that worked for me! If you’re a high schooler looking for some guidance on the college application process, you can click here to explore the different resources and guidance they have available!
Moneythink is another RSO that is continuing their impact online. During the school year, Moneythink mentors visit several public schools to teach a curriculum focused on financial literacy and college readiness. The mentors become a support system for students and help with everything from getting a credit card to finding scholarships.
Despite being unable to visit the classrooms in person, Moneythink continues to help students through an online platform. The website has videos that teach various personal finance lessons as well as other topics like budgeting and college readiness. As a low-income student, my biggest worry was paying for college; I joined Moneythink to help students who are in the position I once was. I immediately saw how significant this mission was and got more involved with Moneythink so that I could make a positive impact.
Moneythink has general check-ins once a week and each mentor group visits their respective high school once a week. We meet with the same students so that we can get to know their stories and create an action plan for their goals. During the year, I felt I had made the greatest impact when I gave my students a list of scholarships that they found helpful! Connecting with high schoolers was definitely my favorite part of the organization, but Moneythink overall creates a welcoming environment full of college students who are eager to help others. I even had fun when we had Saturday training sessions!
When campus opens back up, Moneythink and Bridge to College will be having a joint College Day to demonstrate all the resources that are available after high school. For now, students who are looking to learn more about personal finance can visit Moneythink’s website here. The website has abundant resources about banking and fun videos about college, all of which provide insight for students. There is also a survey that students can fill out to get engaged!
We are all in this together! If you're a high school student needing help with college applications or understanding finances, you can visit these websites to learn more! While there isn’t much these organizations can do in person, these circumstances have allowed them to get creative with how they can continue to impact students virtually. Both websites have videos and brief blog posts with tips to assist students in college readiness and personal finance as well as getting engaged with the community. As someone who works with both organizations, I am proud of our efforts to create accessible resources for students.