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: “For Halloween I’m dressing up as Erlich Bachman from the HBO show Silicon Valley.”—Male, 24, IN

Time has released their annual list of the 30 most influential teens. This year’s cut was chosen by “global impact through social media and overall ability to drive news,” and ranges from the dancing 14-year-old made famous from Dance Moms and Sia’s latest music videos, Maddie Ziegler, to 16-year-old founder of a high-end lacrosse equipment company, Rachel Zietz, to 17-year-old poster child “in America’s culture war over LGBT rights,” Gavin Grimm. Also making the list is 17-year-old app developer Ben Pasternak, who we spoke to earlier in the year. (TIME

The Uber for orchestras is aiming to get Millennials hooked on the classics. Groupmuse is a service that hires “young classical musicians to play small concerts in living rooms across the country.” Consisting of two 25-minute sets, the combinations of music can span a wide range: “We’ve had Dvorak and then string quartet arrangements of Guns and Roses.” The founder, Sam Bodkin, blames “steep entrance cost[s] to stuffy symphony halls” and the association that classical music is “boring,” for the lack of interest in Millennials. 70% of Groupmuse’s users were born in 1980s and ‘90s, and Bodkin has plans to partner with other classical music institutions to further spread interest. (WIRED)

Millennials are abandoning ship on shows that are just too hard to watch. A new study from TiVo found that more than half of Millennials have stopped watching a show because it was too “burdensome to access — i.e. not enough episodes were available to catch up on, episodes were behind a paywall or moved platforms,” or other obstacles. 91% of Millennials have active subscriptions to at least one streaming service, and their easy access to content has turned them off to the idea of having to put in effort to watch a show, especially when they think: “There are four other shows I can go watch right now.” (Variety

A brewer is targeting young and curious drinkers with an Instagram campaign that is the first of its kind. London brewer Fuller’s has strategically placed “blank” outdoor posters that encourage the viewer to take an Instagram and use filters to find hidden messages. The #FindFlavour campaign is promoting Fuller’s Frontier craft lager, and is backed by the insight that “social beer drinking is dominating across platforms, with fans sharing experiences, love of flavour and designs.” Participants who snap and hashtag their hidden message will get the chance to win movie tickets or free beers. (Morning Advertiser

A new augmented reality game is making little entrepreneurs out of kids. Osmo Pizza Co. uses an iPad camera and a simple mirror to mimic the experience of running a pizza shop for five to 12-year-olds. Players use physical objects to create pizza orders and exchange currency, that the iPad picks up on and translates into the game. They can also use their profits to upgrade their shop and level up. The game teaches math and emotional intelligence, as well as two important aspects of startups: making the consumer happy and growing a company by reinvesting money earned. (VentureBeat

Quote of the Day: “I would want anyone that is not named Clinton or Trump to be the next president.”—Male, 23, NY

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