5 Ways to Connect With Your Classmates in a Virtual Setting

5 Ways to Connect With Your Classmates in a Virtual Setting

During our Let’s Go to College LA launch, we found out that one of the biggest concerns college students had during this online transition was “how do we meet other people?” While prior to this semester, all it took was a “Do you have a pencil I can borrow?” to spark up a conversation with your classmate, that interaction is not very convenient now in an online setting. Meeting other people is important in order to establish connections, build study groups, and create long-term friendships. We have gathered some ways you can connect with others as we continue online learning! 

 

  1. Facebook Groups: 
    • Yes Facebook is still useful! Did you know some college campuses have Facebook pages and Facebook groups where students sell textbooks, recommend professors and classes, and share different events going on at campus?
  2. Wildfire: 
    • Wildfire is similar to Facebook but on a separate app. In your bio, you can share your major, your graduation year,and your residence hall. This is for folks looking for a more close-knit social network of their campus! 
  3. Zoom: 
    • Fellow introverts, use Zoom private message to your advantage! Respectfully reach out to your classmates asking if they want to form a study group for that class. You can share notes, discuss class topics, and fill each other in if an absence occurs! You can also ask in the chat box if anyone wants to start a Group Me or if one already exists! 
  4. Clubs: 
    • Clubs are still meeting during COVID, preferably check their Instagram pages to follow up on their meeting dates and times. You can also look up the different clubs your school offers and their contact info on your college’s club directory page!
  5. Campus Events: 
    • Campus events are still happening online as well! Apart from clubs hosting activities, campus resources like your Women’s Center, LGBTQ+ center, Black Resource Center, etc hold events too! Explore the different resources you have on campus and connect with them to attend their events and meet others.
Get Educated: How to Fill Out the FAFSA

Get Educated: How to Fill Out the FAFSA

Happy October 1st! FAFSA opens October 1st, 2020, and closes March 2nd, 2021.

The FAFSA application process can be confusing and a bit scary, but it is important that you fill it out as soon as possible! Many families have suffered economically during the coronavirus pandemic and may have to take extra steps to qualify for maximum help. 

Please make sure you apply as early as possible! Many families have suffered economically during the coronavirus pandemic and may have to take extra steps to qualify for maximum help. 

According to a New York Times article, “completing the form early is always a good idea in order to meet varying deadlines for scholarships. But this year, college students or prospective applicants who have been affected by the pandemic may need to submit extra documents to their colleges.

The more you know about the FAFSA application process, the more you can help others. 

Download our easy-to-follow guide that clearly explains the FAFSA process and answers the most common questions from low-income students and parents.

Guide provided by:

Form Your Future and National College Access Network

CalFresh – Receive up to $193/month for groceries

CalFresh – Receive up to $193/month for groceries

The CalFresh Program is for people with low-income who meet federal income eligibility rules. CalFresh provides you with a budget to put healthy and nutritious food on the table.

CalFresh is a state program that awards you up to $193 a month for groceries.

If you are a student, you can get CalFresh if you:

  • Work at least 20hrs/wk, on average, OR
  • Are approved for state or federal work-study money and anticipate working during the term, OR
  • Are a full-time student with a child under age 12
  • For further requirements, click here.
  • More special rules for students and exceptions click here.

To begin signing up for CalFresh, select your county and get started. You will need to submit proof of your situation.

  • Documents that are usually required to get CalFresh:
    • Copy of ID
    • Proof of any income
    • Proof of immigration status (for non-citizens)
    • Proof of student status (for college students)
  • What if you can’t get proof?
    • Tell the caseworker during the interview. CalFresh generally accepts a sworn statement as last resort.

Apply now online at https://www.getcalfresh.org/

Distanced Learning Tips to Have A Great Fall 2020!

Distanced Learning Tips to Have A Great Fall 2020!

This Fall semester, most colleges have chosen to continue with remote instruction due to COVID-19. Each campus has made their individual fall plans, check here for the latest news on your campus. Distanced learning was something new to most of us during the Spring semester and it is something we will continue experiencing throughout the Fall semester. Whether you are a first-year college student or a rising senior, below are some distance-learning tips that can be useful for you this upcoming school year.

Tips: 
  1. Online Resources 
    • While you should aim to stay connected with your on-campus resources, there is also an abundance of online resources for additional tutoring. Here are options for additional learning and proofreading your essays!
      • Quizlet helps understanding several subjects. If you study well with flashcards, check this resource.
      • Grammarly is a downloadable extension that helps proofread your essays and emails.
      • Writing essays is a huge part of your college experience. Learn how to cite properly using websites such as Zotero, Cite Machine, or EasyBib
      • Prepare for Online Learning by visiting this resource page for community college students
  2. Stay Connected
    • Communication with Professors: Communicating with your professors early on is important in building relationships with them and letting them know about your interests, concerns, or questions. Especially if you are interested in receiving a letter of recommendation from them.
    • Communication with Students: Meeting your classmates digitally may be difficult this time around, but you can always create a group chat and stay connected.
      • Create a Slack workspace for your class to connect with your classmates: www.slack.com
          • Create an account, download the app on your phone or continue on your web browser.
  3. Create a Campus Atmosphere 
    • Creating a space in your home to keep you focused on your studies is the best thing to do. This may be difficult because of the limited space there may be available. Below are some tips to help
      • Stay off your bed and find a table and chair and study there.
      • Talk to the people that you live with about your Zoom class schedule and create boundaries so that they respect your learning process.
  4. Studying Schedule 
  5. Motivation  
    • Tuning into Zoom lectures can be unmotivating, but try to be present during these lectures so that you do not fall behind!
      • Take notes
      • Reflect
      • Write down your goals
      • Keep a journal
Gap Year & Leave of Absence

Gap Year & Leave of Absence

The COVID-19 crisis is forcing us to make difficult decisions. If for whatever reason, attending school is not a viable option at the moment, you may consider taking a gap year or leave of absence. This page covers the basics of what a gap year and/or leave of absence are. Please note, however, that Let’s Go to College CA strongly encourages you to stay in school, even if part-time; our economic situation will make it difficult to find employment and you risk losing your academic momentum. Please read more below.

Gap Year vs Leave of Absence 

A gap year is defined as taking a break before starting college, whereas a leave of absence is taking a break already in the middle of your college career. If you are an incoming freshman, you will consider taking a gap year. If you are an upperclassman, you will consider taking a leave of absence.

Gap Year Overview 

If you are an incoming freshman but may need to take a break before starting college, you may consider a gap year.

To start off, consider whether or not you have been admitted into a college yet. If you have not been admitted into a college, you will have to go through the entire application process as a freshman for whatever you’d like to start school.

If you have been admitted into a college, you may be able to defer your acceptance for a later term; this means you can start school later than originally applied to. Be aware that not all colleges (especially larger or more competitive schools) offer the option to defer. If they do not offer a deferment process, you will need to completely reapply or choose to go to a school with deferment. Note that because community colleges have open-enrollment policies, you can more flexibly choose your starting term. CSU and UC schools vary internally on deferment; please check your deferment options with your prospective school’s Admissions or Registrar office.

It is highly recommended that you secure your plans before taking your break. Make sure you know that you’ll come back to school or else you risk putting school off for longer than intended. Again, we at Let’s Go to College CA strongly encourage you stay in school, even if only for a class or two.

Gap Year Pros and Cons

Pros

  • You get a break from the stress of school
  • You can explore passion and interests

Cons

  • You will have trouble finding a meaningful and well-paying job
  • You will not receive school financial aid while you are out of school
  • It can be very difficult to return to school

Given our COVID-19 crisis, having extra time off may give you the ability to work, but you will be missing out on any potential financial aid (grants, scholarships, subsidized loans, etc) that you get as a student. This also forces you to examine your financial situation: can you live with your parents? What bills will you be acquiring? Will you find a well-paying job?

Colleges usually ask for a valid reason to defer your acceptance. Our COVID situation is a completely valid reason, but they may ask what your intermediate plan is, requiring you to plan ahead. You may be able to take the time to work in a field you’re interested in to hone in and your passions! That said, consider whether you trust yourself to continue your academic momentum. When you come back to school, you may no longer want to be in an educational setting.

Very important: If you are transferring from a 2-year college to a 4-year college you cannot take a gap year because you will lose state financial aid. If you applied and got accepted you need to make sure that you enroll in the term you were accepted or else you jeopardize your complete financial aid package.

Leave of Absence Overview

If you are already in college but need a break, you may consider taking a leave of absence. Simply put, you tell your college that you will not be attending for a certain amount a time– ranging anywhere from a term (semester or quarter), all the way to a year. Please note that Let’s Go to College CA strongly encourages you to stay in school, even if part-time; our economic situation will make it difficult to find employment and you risk losing your academic momentum.

Depending on your college, you may be required to provide a reason for your leave. Because of community colleges open-enrollment policies, however, you will have more flexibility as a student there. At a CSU and UC, the leave of absence process may be a little more lengthy. Please check your Leave options with your respective school’s Registrar office.

Leave of Absence Pros and Cons

Pros

  • You get a break from the stress of school
  • You can explore passion and interests
  • You have a guaranteed position when you get back to school
  • You can define how long you want your break to be

Cons

  • You will have trouble finding a meaningful and well-paying job
  • You will not receive school financial aid
  • You might not want to return to school

Nevertheless, there are a few things to expect from all college systems (CC, CSU, UC). If you are a recipient of financial aid, you will be expected to return the money you would’ve used during your time at school. If the financial aid has not been disbursed, you simply will not receive it during the time that you’re out of school.

This urges you to plan for your financial security. You should guarantee you can afford your costs. On top of that, you must have a secure place to live. Similar to deferment, you must also know yourself well enough to believe you will not lose your academic momentum. After you’re out of school, can you guarantee you will want to return? Your time off can be used for a paid internship or a job in an interesting sector that will more clearly define your future aspirations.