First Lady Michelle Obama helped launch Up Next, a free text messaging system that gives students free guidance on all things college. The main goal of this Better Make Room program, is to help students — especially those who are first-generation college goers — successfully navigate the journey to and through college.
Students simply text the word “COLLEGE” to 44044, and it starts communications regarding financial aid, majors, courses to take, etc. All things first-generation students may not have someone to talk to about. The program then tailors its answers and experience for each user. According to Education Post, this text “approach can significantly increase students’ college enrollment and persistence, at an investment of only about 15 cents per student served.”
The program also sends reminders for national financial aid deadlines, encouragement, and other information. With almost 50% of our scholars being first-generation students, we understand how the college journey can be different for them. The Foundation provides assistance on these topics through our application and renewal processes, the symposium, and individual communications, but seeing another free tool for our scholars to is great!
To learn more about the campaign, visit https://bettermakeroom.org/up-next. Will you be getting involved?
It’s almost time to be on your college campus. Whether it be your first year or last year, you probably have feelings of excitement and nervousness. For those who are nervous, here is a little advice from Pullman Scholar who have been in your shoes. Whichever year you’re going to, we have advice that will help you get through your next year of college.
“Be open-minded and put yourself first. On the first words of advice, college is a time not only to learn your major but also to learn about yourself. For a lot of people, this is the first time that they experience independence. With this independence, it’s important to discover who you are and what you’re passionate about. That’s why it is important to be open-minded. Try new things and discover yourself. On the second words of advice, from my experience at my university, students have a tendency to put work above all else: friends, family, and even their own health. You are very important. Make your health, mental, physical, and emotional, a priority. You’re worth it. “ – Anne Noonan, Carnegie Mellon University
“Work very hard your first semester. If you don’t, you will regret everything once spring semester comes because you will not be able to have fun. You will be too busy focusing on getting your GPA up. That’s what I did, but I came back up ending my freshman year with a 3.5 GPA.” – Tamiya Matlock, Howard University
“Don’t think that opportunities are not available to freshmen. Seek out internships and summer programs early on. Don’t be afraid to exercise your interpersonal skills even if you are hesitating about their capacity. Practicing through real life interaction is helpful.” – Amel Baker, Loyola University Chicago
“Don’t be scared to go do something on your own. Branch out. If you want to see what a club or organization is like, but your friends don’t want to, go anyway. You’ll meet new people interested in the same things you are, and they might end up being some of the best friends you’ll make in college.” – Matthew Gallagher, Loyola University Chicago
“Always push for the A’s by meeting the instructor, creating study groups, and always staying focused” – Daniel Jackson, Illinois State University
“Stay focused, enjoy college, and try not to stress. Sophomore year is your last nonstressful year. It is truly the last time that you will be viewed as less than an adult. Entering your Junior year is very serious and brings a lot of stress and responsibilities. So enjoy sophomore to the fullest, but keep those grades up while doing so. – Tyler Dixon, Hampton University
Stay calm. Sophomore year is going to get a lot busier, but you can do it! Make sure you take care of yourself and practice self-care on a daily basis. Try to join more clubs and meet more people. You will not regret meeting so many people and making so many connections. – Tyler Maxie, Colgate University
“Continue getting involved! Join clubs with a friend or by yourself, just try your best to put yourself out there because you never know where you’ll end up. I signed up for my university’s radio station because my friend suggested we sign up together, and now I am the radio station’s program director and a DJ. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and do what makes YOU happy! – Mia Morgan, Saint Xavier University
“I encourage you to keep on signing up for diverse and different classes. Just like a shoe, you have to keep on trying different sizes (i.e. different classes) to find one that specifically fits for you. Freshman year is all about introducing you to college life, now it is time to try to find what you really like by picking a major that you enjoy!” – Nermina Aly, DePaul University
“Enjoy your time of gen ed because you are going to have more and more technical courses and they are very time-consuming! – Stan Yang, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
” Stay motivated, stay focused because it’ll only get more difficult! This past year I noticed that the classes got harder, and I had to acknowledge that and work through that to make this a successful academic year. It’s important to stay motivated and focused because you will be able to overcome so much of what you’re going through. It won’t get easier, but you will get stronger. The end result is absolutely worth it.” – Ana Hernandez, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
“Make sure to be involved on campus. Join organizations and clubs and go from there. Find you interests and excel in your niche. This is how you grow your experience and network with your peers and professors.” – Agata Oborka, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
“Don’t give up, believe in yourself. School and things going on around you in life may be getting more complex and/or challenging, but you are capable of doing whatever you set your mind to. You are capable beyond what you may believe you are capable of. Take advantage of the opportunities that become available to you, and always maintain awareness of what you are committing to.” – Trinette Lopez, Purdue University
“Try to become involved in whatever field you want to go into. For example, try to get a job or volunteer at a local business that involves your major. This will give you a test of what it is actually like to work, and it will separate you from others in an interview. Studying is important, and I know everybody wants a 4.0 GPA, but I have found that experiences outside of the classroom have been just as beneficial as what I was taught in the classroom.” – Michael Glynn, Marquette University
“Take advantage of all the opportunities you are offered junior year whether study abroad, research, or internships. This is a formidable year for building your resume and yourself! Continue to be a leader in organizations you are passionate about and look for internships in companies that you would like to work for. If you intern there that summer, you might get a job offer. Additionally, if you are looking to go to graduate school or do a fellowship after you graduate, begin to look at potential programs and reach out to your office of fellowships. Also, spend time with your friends and connect with professors who you appreciate. You only have one year after your junior year!” – Xiomara Contreras, Northwestern University
“Focus on school, but also give yourself some personal time. College stress can really affect your body if you don’t take care of yourself.” – Maya Stewart, University of Missouri-Columbia
“Start planning what you want to do after you graduate because it will happen before you know it. – Agona Lutolli, Lake Forest College
“If you want to be truly happy, try to find someone, young or old, who is deeply joyful this year. Then, find out what makes them happy. I couldn’t tell you how much better and happier a person I am, because of what I’ve learned from good people.” – Mary Woytych, Christendom University
“Enjoy it while it lasts! It’s easy to get caught up in the stresses of applying to graduate school, finding a job, or even simply passing senior year. While these things are all important, take some time to hang out with your friends and enjoy the freedom you have!” – Billy Leung, University of Michigan
“Build relationships with their professors, faculty, and staff on their respective campuses. This is a great thing to do especially if they may be thinking about pursuing graduate school immediately after graduation or in the near future. This last year will fly by quick, however, this is the year to build strong relationships with professors or campus faculty and staff by asking questions in class, attending office hours, and standing out from their peers because it shows that you are invested in your academics in addition to a strong foundation to a legacy that you will leave after graduation. Enjoy the last year of college but remember to keep your eye on the prize — your first college diploma!” – Nick Tarleton, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Read the original article in the July edition of the Pullman Scholar Newsletter, On Board, by clicking here.