Helping City Schools students BMore Ready for college

by Danielle Staton, Program Manager for Analysis and Engagement

Through our recent studies, we’ve had the opportunity to hear from hundreds of City Schools students and parents about what it means to be college ready. While academic preparation is top on that list, students and parents also spoke a lot about the need for reliable, relevant information around applying, financing, and transitioning to college. Designed specifically for City Schools students, our new BMore Ready website addresses these issues.

Throughout the planning and development of the website, input and feedback from students and families was always at the forefront of my mind—inevitably, so was my own college experience. In many ways BMore Ready is a response to my seventeen-year-old self, eager to attend college but navigating the process almost entirely on my own. Like many of the students in City Schools, I was the first person in my family to attend a four-year college. My parents always encouraged college attendance, but having never applied to college themselves, didn’t truly understand how to help me through the process. BMore Ready is the type of resource I wish had been available to my family and me. If, in high school, I could have watched a video of a peer highlighting all of the benefits of taking AP courses, I’m positive I would have taken more AP courses than I did. If there had been a site highlighting college readiness events in my area, I’m sure I would have gone to several of them.

One of the main things that sets BMore Ready apart from other college prep resources is the inclusion of videos from our City Schools student ambassadors. BMore Ready is truly a place where City Schools students and families can see and hear from people like themselves. We spent several months recruiting a diverse group of City Schools graduates to serve as student ambassadors and share their experiences and advice on the process of preparing, applying and transitioning to college. Their personal stories offer a wide range of perspectives and insights. We want to thank the City Schools’ Student Media Team and students in the Recording Arts and Media Production (RAMP) Program at Frederick Douglass High School for helping us record and produce the ambassador interviews featured on BMore Ready. These videos cover a number of topics, from advice on deciding what courses to take in high school to learning new time management skills to handling culture shock on a college campus. Please take a minute to browse through our video gallery and hear what some of our ambassadors have to say.

BMore Ready is one piece of a collective push – that includes greater access to Advanced Placement courses, college advising, FAFSA help, etc. – to increase readiness for college here in Baltimore. Our hope is that City Schools students and families see the BMore Ready website as a valuable college and career readiness resource. Please help us get the word out by sharing information about BMore Ready with students and families, as well as the organizations or community groups you work with. Please also follow BMore Ready on Twitter at @BMore_Ready and on Facebook at BMore Ready. If we spread the word, we can help every City Schools student who desires to attend college access the knowledge and resources to do so.