Q&A With College Board’s April Bell On BigFuture And Helping Students Stay On Track With The College Process

It’s an important time for most high school juniors and seniors who are immersed in the college admissions process and are busily planning their futures. But luckily, they have more help than ever to stay organized throughout the college preparation and application process thanks to BigFuture. The College Board’s free planning resource, which launched earlier this year, seeks to simplify the college process and guide students, families, and educators. We chatted with April Bell, director of counseling at the College Board, about the site’s immense offerings, how college preparation is changing for Millennials today, and more.

BigFutureYpulse: Can you tell us about BigFuture and what prompted College Board to create this service?

April Bell: BigFuture is a revision of a service that we already had online. At CollegeBoard.org originally, we had information and materials in regards to college planning and career planning, but we knew it was time to give ourselves a revamp and provide a service to students and their families that was more engaging and interactive. We brought in educators, students, and parents to help with the creation of it to ensure that it would be appealing to those we're serving.

YP: When are you finding that students begin the college process and has this changed at all in recent years?

AB: Students are searching earlier than before. For example, we find that middle school students are more engaged in the process. They’re interested in careers and figuring out what they should do in middle and high school to prepare. We’re also finding that because of individual learning plans or more customized curriculums that different districts are making available across the country, a lot of educators are utilizing our tools in regards to making plans and helping students…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: Q: “Why haven’t you had children yet?” A: “I’m gay. So having a child is a big decision.” –Male, 22, CA

Back to school shopping is moving slower than usual this year, but that’s not the only shift that retailers need to contend with. We outlined the top five categories for spending among high school and college students this season, and tech is in the number one slot for college students and a close second for high schoolers. Increasingly, getting the latest headphones or mobile tech is just more important to young consumers than getting the latest fashions. As one teen told the Times, “It’s definitely more exciting for a lot of teenagers to have a new phone that can do lots of cool stuff than clothing.” (NYTimes)

When Millennials are shopping, more and more prefer to pay with plastic, with debit cards as their main payment of choice. A recent survey by CreditCards.com found that debit cards are preferred 3-to-1 over credit cards among consumers 18-29-years-old—a finding that makes sense considering this group’s fear of debt and cautious financial outlook. Cash is gradually being ignored in favor of debit as well. Among the same group, 51% prefer plastic over cash for purchases under $5, compared with 82% of consumers over 65 who use cash for under $5 purchases. (CNBC)

Our social media status update made it clear that the big platforms are spinning out plenty of new stand alone apps to test new features and try to attract young consumers. Now Instagram has introduced yet another. Their new Hyperlapse is an app that speeds up and stabilizes video, creating beautiful, impressive looking shorts that can be shared to Facebook or Instagram. There is already a #hyperlapse tag that users are employing to share their creations. Time will tell if the app is useful and interesting enough to stand on its own. (Fast Company)

“Everybody is trying to hack Instagram.” That’s what Like2Buy’s cofounder says, and they’re finding ways to help retailers turn social media love into real sales. Target and Nordstrom are both using Like2Buy platforms that link photos posted directly to product pages to buy if they are interested. The hope is that the integration will provide a more seamless experience between browsing Instagram and shopping, and give young consumers the “speed and convenience” that they expect in all facets of brand interactions. (Brandchannel

In the wake of the crisis in Ferguson, two Georgia teens have turned to tech to try to make a difference, and invented an app to help prevent police brutality. Five-O is “like Yelp,” and allows users to create incident reports about their interactions with officers, giving them a grade. The app also includes a “Know Your Rights” function to that users can easily look up what rights they have when dealing with the law. The two sisters behind the app had “dabbled” in code before, and are planning on releasing more apps in the future. (NYMag)

Looking for a quick Millennial stat to get you up to speed before a strategy session? Searching Ypulse is the best place to start! Silver and Gold members have access to 10,000+ articles, 20,000+ curated Millennial news items, 2 billion peer-generated opinions from our mobile, social Q&A network, and thousands of statistics on Millennials drawn from our bi-weekly national survey of the generation. You search can begin and end with us. (Ypulse)

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