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: “I won’t buy an already-made costume to dress up in for Halloween because most of the ready-made options for women are overly sexualized.” –Female, 19, TX

She's a Barbie girl, but it's not exactly a Barbie world. It’s been a hard year for the blondest toy, as we’ve detailed before, and sales of the doll have continued to fall, dropping another 21% in the third quarter of this year. American Girl doll sales also dropped during that time period, and the struggles highlight how the “affections of the target audience—little girls—can be fleeting.” But there are plenty of other potential reasons for Barbie’s tough times: Girls today want edgier dolls, and spend more on tech toys. (Huffington PostBusiness Insider

If done right, young consumers have proven they will continue to buy tickets to see superheroes on screen, and there are a lot more of these movies in the works. This week, Warner Brothers announced plans for 10 new DC comics superhero movies over the next five years, including Wonder WomanAquaman, and The Flash. A movie featuring Lego Batman is also being fast-tracked for next year, so kids and adults alike can look forward to another fix of awesome. (Wired)

It’s 13 days until Halloween, and this year could be the most costume-filled holiday ever. A recent survey has shown that over two thirds of Americans plan to buy a costume, the most in eleven years. The fact that Halloween falls on a Friday has likely been a factor in the boost. Ypulse’s own most recent bi-weekly survey found that 36% of 13-32-year-olds plan to don in a costume to celebrate, 30% of those who plan to dress up will buy a pre-made costume, while 54% say they will purchase some items to make a costume of their own. (Ad Age)

MAC cosmetics is creating an entirely new kind of store that will target today’s teens and tweens. The stores will be designed completely differently to appeal to the younger consumers, including a “major focus on selfies” and a table full of products to sample on the spot. When explaining the new approach, global brand president Karen Buglisi Weiler told WWD, “One store doesn't fit all…You have to be in the world of customization and relevancy now." The first location opened over the summer in Orlando, and is reportedly already one of MAC’s top five stores in North America. (Racked)

Some of the hottest tech startups today are part of the “photo economy.” Millennials and teens have made their penchant for visual communication clear, and helped to make multiple photo sharing apps into huge success stories. Now entrepreneurs are fighting into the space with photo apps that put an emphasis on “storytelling, shopping, and storage.” Competition is tough, and so far the many startups that have tried to make photos shoppable have not succeeded. But still clearly the apps to know next will likely have something to do with this picture-obsession. (Fast Company)

Did you know that thanks to our bi-weekly survey of 1000 14-32-year-olds nationwide, we track trends in social media, entertainment viewing, earnings, spending, and more? Our Silver and Gold subscribers get access to regularly updated charts following average daily spend and items purchased broken out by age and gender. We do the heavy data lifting, and we’re constantly adding new data to our trends. (Ypulse)

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