During lunch on the fourth day, we have a representative from the Financial Aid office schedule individual FAFSA meetings with students. As each situation is different, this allows students to ask questions about their financial resources and complete the FAFSA form based on their information. Students received a PIN number on the first day and are ready to begin the financial aid process today.
These Bridges workshops were developed to help transition students make informed decisions about entering postsecondary education. If they are ready to begin the admission process to Kent State, we assist in the application process by paying the university application fee. Sometimes students aren’t ready for the main campus, but are better suited to start at one of the regional campuses; we also get them started with this process. Other times, students simply aren’t ready for college or decide that they would like assistance finding an apprenticeship or other training program. We provide counseling about what their next choices may be to overcome any challenges they are experiencing.
An Incoming GED Scholar Checklist is created for each student, allowing us to individualize their next steps and provide guidance based on individual needs. Students are given a packet of resources because their next steps might include looking for day care, getting a job or housing, finding transportation or any list of goals they have identified throughout the week. Scheduling a meeting with a mentor and working with the GEDSI coordinator begins this process. The Mentee Personal Information Form is completed and shared with their assigned mentor. Depending on when Bridges is scheduled during the semester, we have found that it is especially important to stay in touch with students as they work through the matriculation process. Often we schedule some additional sessions such as counseling, stress management, writing or whatever areas that may have surfaced during the week as flags or barriers to success. A great way to wrap up the week is to talk through Ten Tips for College Bound Adult Learners by Marianne Jackson, a former GEDSI student and now a writing instructor at one of the regional campuses. The group reviews what they have learned this week and students complete an evaluation form.