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 consider luxury items as something that is nice to have, but that I can also live without.”—Female, 23, FL

How has the recession made Millennials reject capitalism? According to a Harvard University survey, 51% of 18-29-year-olds say they do not support capitalism, but it may be that young voters are essentially frustrated by the “flaws of free markets.” When asked about socialism, only 33% said they were in support of the alternative system, making the analysis of the data complex. It is also unclear how the Millennials surveyed define capitalism, since the meaning has shifted throughout the years. According to one pollster, the term once meant freedom from totalitarian regimes, but is now blamed for the financial crisis. (Washington Post

Financial technology startups are narrowing their focus to keep Silicon Valley interested. It is no longer enough for a young company to disrupt the financial industry, they need to think niche to stand out from the competition. Financial start-up Pave targets consumers with a lack of credit history, like college students. Promise Financial provides loans specifically for weddings (which 74% of 18-33-year-olds say have become too expensive), and has partnered with over 100 wedding venues and vendors to offer loans when major purchases are being made. (Wall Street Journal

Luxury brands are looking towards the future by focusing in on Millennials. The generation has the potential to be the largest spending group in history, and by 2020 the oldest Millennials will be entering their peak earning years. To prepare, luxury brands are shifting to cater to the generation who values “über-luxe” travel over costly jewelry, shoes, and bags. Brands are turning to new influencers—from the Instagram-famous to video game characters— to form relationships with Millennials before they become the core luxury demographic. (WWD

GE has created an unexpected product to attract Millennial engineers: hot sauce. In partnership with thrillist and High River Sauces, the company has introduced the limited edition 10^32 Kelvin—named after the temperature that “scientists believe all matter ceases to exist.” The sauce combines the two hottest peppers in the world, and is made to get the attention of young applicants who may be more inclined to work for a “trendier” company. There is no doubt that hot sauce is a major trend: one market research firm predicts that by 2020 popular sauces will earn $632 million in new sales. (Fox News

An exclusive club called Magnises is “targeting Millennials and brands, wallets and insecurities.” We first told you about Magnises as a start-up targeting high earning Millennials, and since then it has branched out as a community-focused platform joining the ranks of WeLive and Soho House. Playing off Millennials’ struggle to form connections, the company wants to bring “the benefits of an online social network immediacy, convenience, interactivity—into the real world,” through member-only and sponsored events. They are expecting $5 million in revenue this year, with the  majority coming from brands. (Racked

Quote of the Day: “When shopping for a home, my must-have is an in-law suite.”—Male, 23, DE

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