CollegeBound is pushing for college and career advisors in Baltimore City schools

As a Baltimore City student, I strongly advise you to apply for the CollegeBound Foundation’s Last Dollar Grant in your senior year of high school. It is due by June 1st and it has not only provided me with financial aid, but it has also connected me with opportunities.

On May 1, the CollegeBound Foundation proposed for the Baltimore City school system to incorporate college and career advisers in all City high schools. CollegeBound already provided 18 City schools with advisers and many students who are involved with the program succeed in achieving their goals. To bring this idea into fruition, the program requests $1.3 million annually and a four-year funding commitment. School board members will vote on May 8.

If school board members vote to bring this idea into fruition, then this will provide well needed direction and guidance into a lot of students’ lives. Although my high school was not one of the City schools in partnership with CollegeBound, I was still able to apply and get accepted into the program.

The program not only provided me with up to $3,000 per year in grants, but it has also connected me with internships and job opportunities such as the Global Pathways for Students Program from the World Trade Institute located in downtown Baltimore. It is an organization that provides training for college students from Baltimore City. It teaches students how to network and gain professional experience as well as business relationships. It is a summer program that starts in late May and ends in August. On Tuesday I was informed that I was accepted into the program and I wouldn’t have gained or even have heard of this opportunity if it wasn’t for CollegeBound.

When you become a CollegeBound scholar and you receive internship and job opportunities, do not wait until the last minute to apply for these internships and jobs. If you need help with your resume and/or cover letter, then visit the career center in your university. When you are accepted into a program like Global Pathways, make sure that you are always on time, and dress business professional. During the internship, remember two things; it is not what you know, it’s who you know, and always make yourself memorable. Sometimes education isn’t enough. What can differentiate you from the person next to you who also has a degree is your experience, uniqueness, and connections.

While enduring a networking opportunity like Global Pathways, it is important that you build professional relationships by always asking questions, being engaging, charming, and showing your interest. The questions could be about their backgrounds, how they established their careers, and/or any professional advice. Networking leads to obtaining connections, which leads to possibly securing job positions and elevating your career.

Other opportunities that CollegeBound has linked me to was an internship for Under Armour, which is where City Students can gain both professional and business experience. They also linked me to The Greater Baltimore Urban League that contains an eight-week program which offers Summer Associate positions, and if you are hired for the job, then you’ll receive a stipen for $2,300, and an educational award for $1,252. This organization also offers a one-year Evaluation Assistant position that pays $15 an hour.

In summation, as a Baltimore City student who plans on going to college, you should definitely apply for CollegeBound to gain access to

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Important Terms for College Students to Know

As you wrap up your final high school years and fantasize about the wild parties you’re going to partake in in college, as well as contemplate on the majors and classes you would like to study, and clubs they would like to join, it is important for you to pay close attention to your finances before you end up waking out of your drunken stupor and into a pool of debt. The College Juice created a list of important terms for all college students to be aware of.

Cost of attendance, which consists of tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation, is at the top of the list. Towson, Morgan State University and Coppin State University are your cheapest options as Baltimore City Students. Coppin’s in-state tuition is about $7,800 per year. The out-of-state tuition is about $10,000 more than that amount. Because you live in Baltimore, you won’t have to pay the $10,000 per year in room and board. The books and supplies cost $2,000, but you can pay only half that amount if you rent books. The last time I bought a book was in the first semester of my freshman year. The naïve 18-year-old me thought that I could sell the book for around the same amount that I paid. However, I ended up spending $80 on one book, but only getting $15 back when I sold it to BookHolders. Never again. Since then I rented my books and paid half the price I would pay if I had bought the books. You only need the books for a three-month class, so it doesn’t make sense to buy it.

As for transportation, monthly bus tickets are $72, which translates to $504 a school year. Riding the bus would be cheaper than driving a car to campus because you can avoid paying the garage permit and gas.

Another important term to know is the acronym, FAFSA, which stands for Free Financial Application for Federal Student Aid. Here are Instructions for how to apply for FAFSA. This application provides financial aid for students depending on their income. It is important for college students to fill out this form online starting in their senior year of high school. It is due by January 1st of every year, however while in college, I was able to turn in the form in October of every year.

Direct Subsidized loans are borrowed money given to students of low income families, and you do not have to pay interest. Direct Unsubsidized loans are borrowed money that is not only for students from low income families and you must pay interest. Grants and scholarships are “free money” meaning that it’s money given to you that you do no have to pay back. CollegeBound offers grants and scholarships for Baltimore City students. It has a program called Last Dollar Grant, which offers grants up to $3,000 a year for five years. The applications are due by June 1st. I was notified of my award from Collegebound by email in July after I applied.

Another term to know is the minimum monthly payment, which is the minimum amount you are allowed to pay for your student loans per month. However only paying the minimum amount can cause you to ultimately have to pay extra in interest. I suggest that you apply for as many scholarships as you can to receive more free money than borrowed money. Credit cards are used to pay for anything, but it is important to pay the credit card payment on time to maintain a high credit score. High credit scores can increase you chances of getting loans with better interest rates and getting approved for housing.

When filling out the FAFSA form, be sure to apply for federal work study. Work study jobs are jobs you can be hired for on your college’s campus. You can earn up to $1,800 per year.

 

Under Armour’s Opportunities for Baltimore Students

This school year, Under Armour collaborated with the Ravens, the Fund for Educational Excellence and the InSideOut Initiative to provide uniforms and footwear to 5,300 student athletes and coaches in Baltimore City public schools. The InsideOut Initiative is a nonprofit organization that offers improvement for athletic directors and coaches. The Fund for Educational Excellence is a nonprofit organization that works to improve Baltimore City schools. Under Armour is a Baltimore based company that sells athletic and sportswear. The company also offers paid internships, which are great opportunities for Baltimore City students who plan on going to college.

City students who are interested in majoring in the likes of business, design, arts, engineering and technology will receive a quality experience in Under Armour’s 12-week internship by learning about the company and gaining inside knowledge on how to run a major business. The Summer League program gives students access to executive speakers and mentors who can properly guide and provide connections and network opportunities for young business aspiring students. While filling out the application, the student can also create a personal file that helps them choose a position that best fits their interests. The program’s requirements are not limited to fit a specific demographic but is open to a wide variety of students.

Even if you are not an aspiring business, design, or engineering major, you can still highly benefit from this internship as a student. The program will introduce you to the professional world and will provide you with training that is crucial for developing ways to conduct yourself and network for opportunities involving your major. For example, if you are a communications major, then this internship experience with Under Armour can potentially lead you to working for the company’s public relations campaign. As well as further elevate your career by leading you to work for bigger and higher paying companies. So, experience with a major company will be a good addition to you resume. Plus, since the company is based in Baltimore, then as a Baltimore city student, you have an advantage because the company has recently shown interest in city students by helping to improve Baltimore schools through the donation of their sportswear. Also, if you stay in Baltimore after graduating from high school and attend a local university such as Towson, Loyola, Morgan or Coppin State, then the location of the company is even more convenient.

Baltimore is abundant with many businesses such as Under Armour, Merritt Club, and places in the inner harbor that can provide jobs to many Baltimore students who are entering college. The inner harbor is the city’s most attractive tourist spot and major source of income. The downtown area is filled with immense job opportunities for local natives. So, with the collaboration of Programs such as YouthWorks who provides a paid summer job experience for Baltimore students between the ages of 14 and 21, local businesses can have the power to decrease the local unemployment rate and brighten the futures of Baltimore youth.

Funding for Baltimore City Public Schools

Children’s Scholarship Fund Baltimore is a privately funded organization that provides partial scholarships for children of low-income families in Baltimore City. If the families’ income meets the standard for the Free and Reduced lunch program, then the families are eligible for the Scholarship. The organization funds the tuition for the private school of the student’s choice. Every Spring, the program conducts a “Lottery Day” where the program’s administrator randomly selects a certain number of students ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade, to be accepted into the program. This year the organization will only accept 34 students. The families of the students will then receive letters from the scholarship fund, informing them that their child has been selected. They will then request the families’ tax documentation. From there, the families will meet with the organization for an interview where they will discuss the private schools that are best for their students.

It is good that an organization like this exists, however it’s not immensely affective. Every child deserves to have an adequate education, but unfortunately, a lot of Baltimore City schools are under-funded and can’t even provide a sufficient education for the children. A friend of mine from North Carolina had moved to Baltimore when he was 13. When he first attended middle school here, he said the educational content was very behind compared to what he was learning in North Carolina. In Baltimore, what he was being taught in the Eighth grade is what he had already learned in the fifth grade in North Carolina.

For years the City school system couldn’t even provide a stable learning environment for the children. This past Winter, Baltimore City schools were closed for a whole week because the schools did not have heat. After receiving national attention, City officials finally sent maintenance workers to fix the heating issues in the schools. As a former Baltimore City student, I’ve experienced having to keep my coat and gloves on in school because the building did not have any heat. I vividly remember seeing a girl in class shivering. We could barely pay attention to the lesson because we were too busy trying to escape the cold.

The only way for a lot of City students to receive a proper education is to attend a private school, but it shouldn’t be that way. Most Baltimore City families can’t afford private school, and there are organizations such as Children’s Scholarship Fund Baltimore, but they work on a lottery system, so they can’t award that many students. This year they can only accept 34 students. This year only 34 City students are awarded a proper education under this program when all City students deserve a decent education. Low-income parents of Baltimore City who applied for this scholarship shouldn’t have to hope that their child is one of the 34 students awarded to attend private school for a proper education. The city public school system should afford all students that right. School systems that are under funded with low quality education leads to high drop out rates, which means that college isn’t even a thought. To prevent this, City schools need more funding, and more caring teachers.

For now, I would suggest for Baltimore City middle school students to work to obtain a composite score of at least 610, so that they can be accepted into one of the top three public high schools in Baltimore, which are Baltimore City College, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, and if female, Western High school. These schools offer a higher quality of education and prepares students for college. Western High School and Baltimore Polytechnic Institute are among some of the high schools that are apart of CollegeBound, which offers grants for Baltimore City high school students.

 

Training and Job Preparation for Baltimore City Students

According to The Baltimore Sun’s editorial, Building Maryland’s 21st Century Workforce, the world’s most successful educational systems require sophomore high students to complete an exam that tests whether they are proficient in basic academic skills. In their latter years of high school, the students then receive training that is crucial for their careers and some students even graduate with an associate’s degree.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz are working to provide Baltimore City high school students who are of the 2018 class, a free community college education. However, the Baltimore City school system has a lot of room for improvement regarding adequately preparing the students for their future careers.

The state government funding that would go towards providing a free community college education for Baltimore students, should go towards educational programs for Baltimore City students, which would prepare them for the workforce. While they are still in high school they should receive adequate training and job preparation for the careers they would like to pursue. They could also obtain as much as an associate’s degree while still in high school so that they won’t have to spend an unnecessary extra two years in community college for the same degree.

The Baltimore Sun article also states the Colorado school system’s proposal to provide high school students with paid apprenticeships, which gives them college credit and leads them into a pathway for job opportunities. If only Maryland, especially Baltimore and states across the nation would practice this same proposal, then the American educational system would have a higher global ranking.

The focus for free community college education for Baltimore students needs to shift to enhancing the City’s school system as a whole. Last year it was revealed that a whopping 13 Baltimore City high schools had zero students proficient in math and six Baltimore schools had zero students proficient in math and English according to the state test scores.

More state government funding needs to strictly go towards providing adequate educational tools and programs for Baltimore City high school students to prevent them from falling under the trap of being lost and robbed of proper training for job opportunities. City officials need to first make sure that all Baltimore City primary and secondary school teachers are properly teaching their students proficient math and English skills before discussing community college.

YouthWorks is a summer program that offers employment opportunities and experience for the Baltimore youth between the ages of 14 to 21. Thousands of students apply, but only some are accepted. The program needs local employers to extend a hand and offer job opportunities for the Baltimore youth.

Will Gladden is one of the lucky ones who was able to receive an internship and eventually obtain a full-time position for the Merritt Club, a gym located in Fort Avenue in Baltimore. If Baltimore City students acquire adequate education and job training while in high school, then with the collaboration of YouthWorks, many local employers could recognize and provide employment for the Baltimore youth. This can prevent city students from suffering from the fate of being broke and lost.