College Leaps apps break through the clutter of the college application process
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) – Two Metro Nashville College Access Teachers have created an interactive roadmap app for the college application process called “College Leaps” to help high school students understand the application process and not miss any deadlines.
The idea came from two teachers when they both worked at McGavock High School in Nashville.
“We planned lessons,” explained Angie Allen, executive director of the Martha O’Brien Center Middle School and Post-Secondary. “We said, ‘How about we do this, because we already have the steps in our heads and we already had them in our class, and we put them in our class.’ How about we create an app because it’s always on their phone.”
For more than a decade, the pair focused exclusively on college readiness.
“We are actively involved in schools and helping prepare students for success after high school,” said McGavock High School dean of education Laura Vignon. “[But] there’s no one place that says exactly what it is, how to do it, you have to go to at least 26 different websites, you’ve got all the books you need to look up.”
According to Allen and Vignon, the process is unrecognizable even among students whose parents were college graduates.
“If you don’t have a parent who knows, and frankly, even if you do have a parent who knows, it’s changed. It’s very digital, there’s a lot of things online. So basically it gives students an opportunity to go there, tell them what to do and what to do next instead of just hearing it in the hallway or from a teacher,” explained Vignon.
The app is not intended to take the place of a college counselor, but rather to guide students through the application process and send them reminders to keep them on track.
“You know, school counselors have been charged with this for a long time, and their job has changed a lot,” Allen said. “They have a lot more other things to focus on. But the national average is also 360 students per counselor.”
The founders of College Leaps said some of the apps are designed to help high school students understand the language of college applications.
“We have access to teach them the process of understanding vocabulary events because, you know, if they were to meet with a counselor, the counselor would say, ‘You have to do the FAFSA by now. “What is the FAFSA?” Allen said. “Yeah, you know, so it’s part of the education, just in the language of the university and what it looks like.”
The app contains content for all high school students.
“If you start using it your freshman year, things will change wildly by the end of the year,” Vignon explained of the ever-changing world of apps. “So it’s something we’re always doing as we get new information and we’re actively updating the app.”
Keeping information up-to-date is the founder’s specialty after helping students navigate the process for more than a decade.
“College Leaps answers a lot of the questions counselors get,” Allen said. “It’s not that they never have to talk to anyone. But it gives them a good framework for all the things that they should at least ask about, if they do, they know what to ask.”
To know more about the app and download link, visit their website.
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