myKlovr

myKlovr: A Short Primer for Benefits Brokers

By Thomas Broderick

As a benefits broker, you give one or more clients expert advice on how to provide the best benefits at a cost affordable to employees, answer employers and employees’ questions, and stay up to date with the latest laws and regulations. As a result, you need to keep on top of the rapidly evolving benefits landscape to succeed at your job.

In this brief article, we at myKlovr want to introduce you to our employee and member benefit, one that appeals to mid-career professionals with middle and high school-aged children. We feel confident that by the time you finish reading, you will recognize myKlovr’s value and want to offer it to your clients.

What Is myKlovr?

MyKlovr answers a question many high school students have: ‘How do I get into my dream college?’ Unfortunately, high schools across the country lack proper college counseling resources, and the best private college admissions counselors charge as much as some lawyers. Many families go into the process blind, and without help, prospective college students cannot attend the right school.

To help families in need, myKlovr developed a first-of-its-kind virtual college admissions counseling service that combines seven key functions:

  • A student portfolio where users can curate their best academic and extracurricular work
  • Personalized goal recommendations (e.g., improve a grade, join a club) that align to the user’s top college picks
    • Users can modify these recommendations, also known as an action plan, at any time
  • A progress dashboard that visualizes users’ accomplishments
  • An advanced college finder with multiple filters
  • A support network wherein users can invite trusted adults (e.g., teachers, parents) to offer advice, keep up to date with progress, and confirm milestones
  • Specialized courses that teach users how to create college-friendly social media accounts
  • Financial education modules that provide valuable information on how to pay and save for college

Users receive all of these services the moment they sign up for myKlovr. Once they input personal and academic information, they can begin improving their chances of college admissions success.

How Does Offering myKlovr Differ From Other Benefits?

You’ve likely come across dozens of voluntary benefits that appeal not only to employees but also their families (e.g., public transportation passes, discounts on entertainment, gym memberships, etc.). myKlovr stands apart in one crucial aspect – cost.

Our low cost not only attracts new users but can help your clients, as well. Unlike with other, more expensive traditional and voluntary benefits, your clients can offer myKlovr at any time of year. Without the need for an open enrollment period, new employees in our target demographic can sign up on their first day of work. Your clients can use this fact to their advantage as they try to recruit the best talent.

Final Thoughts

Please visit our website to learn more about myKlovr and how it helps students and their families. Also, feel free to contact us if you have questions or would like to start offering myKlovr to your clients.

We look forward to working with you.

How myKlovr Can Integrate With Your Company’s HRMS

When we developed myKlovr, a first-of-its-kind virtual college counseling service, we knew we wanted to have companies offer it as part of their benefits package. To help companies integrate myKlovr into their Human Resource Management System (HRMS), we developed different methods applicable to your systems.

In the following paragraphs, you can learn more about our integration goals and the ways you can make myKlovr part of your HRMS. If you have questions after reading this article, feel free to reach out.

Integration Goals

No matter how you integrate myKlovr into your HRMS, we want to make sure the process is a successful one that achieves the following:

  • Employees can view their myKlovr benefits on your company’s benefits portal.
    • Employees can use this same portal to cancel myKlovr or view their billing history.
  • Signing up for myKlovr creates an account for an enrollee’s child or beneficiary (e.g., grandchild, nephew, etc.) automatically.
  • If an enrollee cancels myKlovr, the child/beneficiary has the option to continue using myKlovr at the standard per month rate.
  • Your company’s HR staff can update multiple employees’ enrollment status simultaneously.

Once you decide that myKlovr would be an excellent employee benefit for your employees, we will first determine pricing and set up service levels. When we finish the prep work, we can help you decide how to integrate myKlovr into your HRMS.

How to Integrate

To make sure that your company can meet its integration goals, we offer seamless methods you can use for your HRMS. The following sections provide a non-technical explanation based on technical documents myKlovr developed. We would be happy to share these documents with your HRMS professionals during the integration phase.

API-Based

An application program interface (API) allows your company to create a custom interface that HR professionals and employees use to manage the myKlovr benefit. Although your company would have more control over this system, API requires that your HR professionals have a high level of technical expertise.

Flat File Transfer

Flat file transfer provides companies the freedom to decide when to update enrollees’ information, a boon for companies who allow employees to sign up for myKlovr at any time.

If you prefer to use flat file transfer when updating enrollees’ information, we have prepared a simple six-step process that involves minimal work on your end and near-instantaneous confirmation concerning any requested changes. Also, we take care of the job of informing your employees about the latest modifications to their myKlovr benefits.

We have a host of resources that make this process as easy as possible. As a result, even HR professionals not formally trained in flat file transfer should be able to implement it successfully.

Final Thoughts

Even after integration, we at myKlovr want to make sure that your company’s HR professionals can manage enrollee information in a timely, accurate, and, most importantly, secure manner. As a result, we not only want to help you integrate myKlovr but also forge a productive and long-term business relationship.

We look forward to responding to your comments and inquiries.

Applying to college? Here’s where to start.

You’ve decided that you are ready to start the college application process. Chances are you’re a sophomore in college and realize that this is the time to begin thinking about colleges. The problem is once the initial excitement about looking at colleges wears off, you are left staring at a mountain of information, tasks, deadlines, and options that can leave you overwhelmed.

The entire process can take over two years and includes several different phases. These phases include but are not limited to, researching schools, campus visits, applications, researching majors, and financial aid. So, before you even start this long and winding journey, let’s talk about a few things to do right at the start.

Why are you going to college?

College is a serious commitment. You are committing four years of your time and thousands of dollars of money to this next step in your education. Therefore, you need to be clear as to why you have made this choice. If your current answer is “I don’t know,” “Because I am supposed to,” or “My parents are making me,” then you need a new answer.

College is your opportunity to create a future of your own choosing. This is the beginning of a journey that, if done correctly, will prepare you to build a career and life of satisfaction and fulfillment. Now is the time to start thinking about what you are looking to get out of college? Do you want to meet people in a particular field? Are there certain subjects you want to learn more about? Having a basic idea of why you are going to college can help you figure out which schools you should be looking at.

What Type of Person Do You Want To Become?

What do you want to be when you grow up? This is a question that you have been asked several times in the duration of your life. It is also a question that is closely tied to choosing a college. The issue with this question is that it can limit your choices. You are forcing yourself to make a life-altering decision without understanding all of your options. Instead, before you start looking at colleges and majors, ask yourself, “What type of person do I want to become?”.

This question is designed to open you up to new possibilities and ideas. Think about when in your life do you feel the most accomplished or satisfied. Perhaps, it is when you are helping other people and giving them the advice to solve a problem. Maybe you should become the type of person who helps people for a living. Your next step is to list out all the jobs that are associated with that type of person. Finally, take the time to find people who are currently doing those jobs and learn more about them.

Once you complete this, you will have a much better idea of what majors and careers you’re interested in. By learning more about these possible jobs and careers ahead of time, you will know which ones you maybe passionate about and which ones you can forget about. This allows you to focus solely on schools that are going to help you become the person that you want to be.

Determine The Type of Environment You Need To Succeed

If you have read my past posts, you know the basis of my advice comes from surveying and interviewing college graduates. The majority of these grads often speak about how they did not take enough time to determine what they as an individual needed from a college to be successful. They got caught up thinking they had to go away college or choose a big-name school with a huge campus and successful football team.

Take the time to do some self-discovery and be honest about your academic and personal needs. Is going away to school a good fit for you? Will you be successful in large lecture halls, or should you find a school that offers smaller sized classrooms? Will you be okay in a new town and living with new people? How important are things like seeing family and friends when it comes to your mental health?

There are no wrong answers to these questions. The only wrong path is not taking the time to ask these questions at the beginning. These answers will guide your college search and help you only focus on schools that fit your needs. Remember, you are a unique individual that needs to do what is best for you.

Tell Your Story

Everyone has a story to tell. You may think that is not true and that you are boring or are uninteresting. First, I am almost positive you are more interesting than you give yourself credit for. Second, it is your best interest to figure that out sooner rather than later. You will be applying to the same college and thousands of other high school students. The last thing you want is to blend in and look like every other applicant the admissions department sees.

Take the time to map out your personal story. Start with why you are going to college and what you are looking to accomplish. Write out your interests and passions. Think about how going to college is going to help you build the life you want. Think about what that life looks like and what you are doing to get there. List out all of your accomplishments, awards, and past jobs. Make a list of teachers, co-workers, and other individuals who would be willing to vouch for you as a person.

This will help you begin to craft the story you will tell during your application process. This story will accomplish three main things. First, it will give the admissions counselor a better understanding of who you are as a person. Second, it will show the counselor the value you will add to the school if accepted. Third, it will help you stand out during your college essay. It could be the edge you need to get in over a student who just picked an essay topic off the internet.

Get Serious and Get Organized

Looking at colleges should be an enjoyable experience, but it is also not something to take lightly. You will be spending a considerable amount of time and money on college and want to ensure you get it right. There are also several deadlines and tasks to keep on track of. Before you even begin, figure out how you are going to keep track of everything.

The myKlovr platform can help you accomplish this. It allows you to enter all these crucial deadlines and due dates in one place so you can keep track of everything. It also provided reminders when an important date is approaching. However, this is only half the battle. For this to work, you must be committed to putting in the time and energy to the entire process. Understand what’s expected of you and commit to staying on top of it for the duration of the process.

Conclusion

If it’s time to start looking at colleges, then it’s time to get serious about your future. Yes, it can be overwhelming. You will most likely make a few mistakes along the way. The critical thing to remember is that if you apply yourself to the process and give it the time and attention it deserves, then you will be just fine. We covered a lot of valuable information at a very high level. 

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is the founder of To The Next Step, an educational coaching and services company designed to prepare students for the next steps in life, including college, entering the workforce, and the real world. He offers several students focused services, including one on one coaching and on-demand courses. You can learn all about it at www.ToTheNextStep.org or by emailing him directly at Kyle@ToTheNextStep.org.

A Different Approach To Your College Application Essay

By Kyle Grappone

3 Ways To Help Your Child When They Get Stressed About The College Application Process

Applying to college is complicated and stressful for both students and parents. As parents, we have gone through similar situations and can usually lean on our past experiences for guidance. However, for a teenage student, this is probably the first time in their life, they are experiencing something so complicated. Furthermore, they have been told for the past few years how important this choice will be to their future. That combination can lead to a high level of stress and confusion.

Understanding what your child is feeling is an essential first step to helping them navigate this challenging process. When I speak to college graduates about their past choices, an overwhelming amount of them talked about regretting their approach to college. Many grads spoke of not doing enough research, being confused by all the options, and some even pointed out that the lack of parental support led to them making a choice they would later regret.

In this week’s post, we are going hone in on three specific steps you as a parent can take to help your stressed-out teenager. We will also show how myKlovr is built to help you carry out each of these steps.

#1 – Guide them in creating a plan

As we mentioned earlier, applying to college includes several phases, steps, and deadlines. Before you begin anything, set us aside time one afternoon to list out everything that needs to be done between now and when they get accepted. Create a timeline that shows when specific tasks need to be completed.

This accomplished two primary goals. First, the student understands what needs to be done when instead of starting at one long list, thinking everything must be accomplished right away. Second, this prevents anything from sneaking up on them down the line. They always know what is coming and what to prepare for. They can get in the habit of starting each week by making a list of what specific action items need to be accomplished.

Our Action Plan function is the ideal partner for getting organized and creating a detailed plan. This is where a student can enter important dates, deadlines, and anything else you want mapped out. It also provides reminders regarding upcoming and past deadlines. The student does not have to live in constant worry that something is being missed. If they ever feel overwhelmed, they can simply look at the app, see what they have accomplished and what is coming next.

#2 – Encourage them to tell their story

The application process is not the only thing students worry about when trying to get into college. Many times students worry about how they will get in after they apply. When you are applying to a college alongside hundreds or even thousands of others, it is easy to feel like you won’t stand out. This is where you need to encourage them to craft their own story.

College admissions counselors read vast amounts of applications and essays every day. Most articles read the same because students are writing about topics they found online or about personal perseverance. Applicants can look similar when the applicant is merely listing off extracurricular or volunteer experience. The way for students to stand out is to tell their own stories. Encourage them to discover who they are and what they want to accomplish.

When an admissions counselor reads your child’s materials, you want them to be able to envision them at the school. You want it to be clear that your child will make that school a better place. You want to be telling a story of a student who has always worked hard and strove to be a better student and a better person. Most importantly, you want to make it clear that your child has specific career goals and that this college is the one that can make them a reality.

The Student Portfolio is the perfect way to help craft and showcase a student’s story. We help your students create a portfolio by merely having them input data points such as grades, activities, awards, work experiences, and much more. This portfolio allows students to gain a holistic view of everything they have to offer a college and will give them the confidence to apply anywhere they want. 

#3 – Find the college that is a right fit for them

Over the years, I have researched, surveyed, and interviewed hundreds of college graduates regarding their time in school and what they wish they could do differently. One of their biggest regrets is not spending more time looking at colleges. Many of them only applied to a few colleges and never took the time to figure out if they were even the right fit. The result being they either struggled during their freshman year or had to transfer out to a different school.

Before you and your child start looking at colleges, a student must know what environment is best for them. Are they responsible enough to go away to school? Will they thrive in a lecture hall, or should they focus on schools with smaller class sizes? How far away from home are they willing to be? The number of colleges out there can be overwhelming. This is why you must help your child narrow them down by answering these questions before you even start looking.

Our College Finder tool is designed to help any student navigate through all the choices that are open to them. This tool helps to narrow down the list to only the colleges that fit your needs. It then takes that list and divides them further into reach, match, and safety categories. This ensures you are keeping your options open and have applied to the appropriate amount in each group. Once again, myKlovr is there for you when your student gets overwhelmed, and myKlovr also helps to reassure them they are on track.

Conclusion

The best way to help your child when applying to college is by understanding what they are going through. This is the time to put your years of guidance and wisdom to good use. Whether it’s your experience in applying to college yourself or in dealing with stressful situations, you can help your child navigate this path to the career and future they deserve. The best part is, you don’t have to do it alone. MyKlovr was designed to help you each step along the way by answering your questions and reassuring your child that everything will turn out for the best.

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is the founder of To The Next Step, an educational coaching and services company designed to prepare students for the next steps in life, including college, entering the workforce, and the real world. He offers several students focused services, including one on one coaching and on-demand courses. You can learn all about it at www.ToTheNextStep.org or by emailing him directly at Kyle@ToTheNextStep.org. 

How myKlovr Can Bundle with Other Voluntary Benefits

By Thomas Broderick

As voluntary benefits become more popular in the workplace, employers are often given the options of choosing benefits that are bundled together in order to save time and money.

In this article, we’ll look at the pros of benefits bundling,  and how myKlovr can bundle with complementary benefits.

Bundling vs. No Bundling

The most significant advantage of bundling involves cost. In a bundle, employees pay less for each benefit than if they had selected them individually. In voluntary benefit bundles, employees pay less and receive the same great benefits.

So, how do companies decide whether to bundle or not to bundle?

What Companies Can Do

When it comes to bundling, companies should turn to the experts – their employees. To understand their employees’ wants and needs, employers can hire survey researchers. These highly-trained professionals perform in-depth research into a company’s history, culture, workforce, turnover, performance, etc. Using this research, they design unbiased surveys (e.g., forms, one-on-one interviews, etc.). After obtaining the results, they present findings and recommendations to senior management.

By asking outside, impartial experts to uncover whether bundling meets employees’ needs,  managers can make an informed decision on whether voluntary benefits bundling works for them.

How myKlovr Can Bundle

When we developed myKlovr, we thought about more than just our primary audience – high school students. We knew that parents would play a vital role in both reviewing their children’s Individual Action Plan and verifying accomplishments. In other words, parents and other trusted mentors play a significant role in helping student users succeed.

For this and other reasons, myKlovr can bundle effortlessly with other voluntary benefits that appeal to mid-career professionals with middle and high school-aged children. The following are just a few of the voluntary benefits that employers can bundle with myKlovr:

  • Discount on a gym membership, local entertainment, etc.
  • Additional medical coverage (e.g., dental insurance that covers braces and other orthodontic services that young adults typically need)
  • Life insurance policy
  • College-savings plan
  • Automobile insurance discounts – a boon for families with young, inexperienced drivers

Final Thoughts

Finally, please keep in mind that if you make surveying your employees part of your company’s culture, you can promote both workplace satisfaction and employee loyalty.

3 Popular Myths About Going To College

By Kyle Grappone

According to a recent research study, about 70% of high school graduates attend college. This means there is a large number of students and parents who are looking to consume college related content to prepare for this critical process. This high demand for content has resulted in an overwhelming amount of articles, interviews, case studies, and videos about what you need to know to make the best possible choice when selecting a college.

Typically, this blog is dedicated to helping you sift through all of that well-intentioned advice. It is essential to identify all the factual information out there. However, it is also important to admit that there is a lot of incorrect data, as well. Somewhere along the way, various myths regarding what’s important about college starting popping up. Therefore, this week, we are going to debunk three popular myths regarding going away to college.

Myth #1 – You must go away to school

As a society, when we speak of college, we automatically connect it with going away to attend it. Somehow, we have forgotten about millions of students who attend college and still live at home. When you begin this process, you will be tempted to look at schools far away from home. After all, the idea of being out on your own is very attractive. Attending a college out of state is an opportunity to become independent, meet new people, and experience new things.

For many, this is the right call. It is important to get out into the world and experience things that are different from what you are used to. However, if this is your next step, you have to do it for the right reasons. Do not go away to school because you want to get away from your parents or you want to party all the time. If you are choosing a school far from home, you should do so because it aligns with your goals and your plans.

Also, there is nothing wrong with deciding that going away is not for you. The most important thing a student must do when looking at colleges is to understand what type of environment they need to succeed. Are you the type of person who benefits from familiarity? Will a new bed, town, and friends on top of harder classes be too much to adjust to? If that is the case, please understand it is okay to choose a college close to home. This does not make you lazy, nor does it make you ill-equipped to handle new responsibilities. It merely means you have identified what you need to succeed and refuse to put yourself in a situation where that is not going to happen.

Myth #2 – You must go to a 4-year school

Community colleges get a bad rap. For some reason, they have been labeled as a place that are reserved for those who were not driven or smart enough to get into a four-year school. This is not true. Community colleges offer high-quality education at lower prices than there four-year counterparts.

A community college is an excellent choice for someone who is not clear about what they want to study in college. It is also an option for someone who knows they want to go to college but cannot yet afford it. You can attend for two years and complete your basic requirements while you work and save money for the last two years. This allows you to continue your education and take our fewer student loans.

Again, this comes back to what your plan is. What are you looking to accomplish? Why are you going to college in the first place? Understanding your needs and goals is imperative. Many of the college graduates I speak to talk about how they regret not going to community college first. They speak about “falling into the trap” of thinking that only the unmotivated start at community college. Do yourself a favor and research your local community colleges. You will be pleasantly surprised at what they have to offer and how it can fit in perfectly with your future plans.

Myth #3 – You have to have all your career mapped out before you start college

This is the biggest one of all. I left it for last, so you have something to think about after you have finished reading this article. There can be a tremendous amount of pressure placed on a high school student when it comes to planning for the future. They often think that by choosing a college, they must also know exactly what career they want to pursue and how they are going to get there. I promise you; this is not true.

The most flawed question we ask students is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. This implies that they must already know what they want to do with the rest of their lives. It is flawed because how are you supposed to be able to answer that question without knowing what all the options are. This is not a time for you to be making these types of decisions. This is a time for you to be asking yourself, “What type of person do I want to become?”.

By exploring this question, you are opening yourself up to a field of options based on the type of person you want to work towards being, and the impact you want to have on the world around you.  This allows us to have an idea of what we are working towards while keeping our options open.

You are not expected to have a concrete answer regarding your future before you go to college. College is supposed to be the time in your life when you ask more questions. Where you explore your options, talk to those who came before you, and then start to determine what you want to do with the next steps of your life. You do not need to have everything figured out; you need to start thinking about what questions you need answers too.

Conclusion

The college application and selection process is challenging. There is a lot of information floating out there. Most of it is based in fact and therefore can be helpful. However, there are, unfortunately, several myths surrounding this process that need to be addressed and debunked.

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is the founder of To The Next Step, an educational coaching and services company designed to prepare students for the next steps in life, including college, entering the workforce, and the real world. He offers several students focused services, including one on one coaching and on-demand courses. You can learn all about it at www.ToTheNextStep.org or by emailing him directly at Kyle@ToTheNextStep.org.  

5 Things To Expect When Going Away To College

By Kyle Grappone 

College can be a once in a lifetime type of experience for a young student. For those lucky enough to go away to school, it is an opportunity to meet new people, experience new things, and learn skills that will propel you into the next phase of your life. However, going away to college can bring with it several unexpected challenges. When I speak to college graduates, they often refer back to the bumpy transition they had when starting freshman year. As you prepare for this next step, here are 5 things to expect when going away to college.

Not Everyone You Meet Will Be Like You

Often, towns and high schools will be filled with similar people. Most residents and students will share similar characteristics and backgrounds. If you grew up surrounded by people like yourself, you may be tricked into thinking the whole world is like this. It is very common and is often the cause of issues for new college students. They arrive on campus and encounter other students of different backgrounds and upbringings.

The key is to be prepared to have an open mind. The way you view the world is not the only way. Your opinions can be strong, but be open to new ways of looking at things. Most importantly, do not shy away from something new. If you grew up in the city, seek out those who may have grown up on a farm. This is the best way to enhance your knowledge about the world around you. The real world you are going to enter after college will have more people that are different than you than are similar to you. It is best to begin getting used to that now and use your new surroundings to your advantage.

There Is A Quiet Consequence To Missing Class

In an earlier post, we spoke about taking over the things your parents currently do for you. One of the items on that list was waking yourself up for school. That will come into play as soon as you begin classes. If you overslept in high school, the consequence was loud and obvious. Your Mom probably started yelling at you or your school called home to say you did not show up to class. Again, that most likely caused you to get yelled at. College is different.

You are responsible for attending class. Yes, if you miss it, your parents will not know. However, your teacher will know. Depending on your professor’s policy, those absences could impact your final grade. It will be easy to skip class knowing that no one is going to yell at you or call home to inform your parents. However, know that you are still very much being reprimanded for missing class. In many ways, deducting points from your final grade is much worse than a parental scolding.

Not Everyone Is There To Learn

Colleges exist to educate young adults on the road to the real world. Most students have spent the last few years working very hard to get into the school that they did. They have chosen their major and class schedule and are ready to go. You may think that everyone is as focused and motivated as you are. You may be surprised to find out that not everyone is.

When you enter freshman year and settle into your dorm, you will quickly see some people are there simply to party. These are the students who are always playing video games and watching movies. They stay up late and never go to class. You will often wonder how is it that they have so much free time while you are stuck in class or studying in the library. It is because they cannot handle going to school with no parental supervision.

The most important thing is to not fall into this trap. It will be very tempting to join these slackers. After all, they will always be doing something more fun than going to class or studying. The thing is, these students do not last very long. They are usually gone after the first semester or two. All they did was waste their time and money and delay their education. These students will have to start from scratch at a college back home. Be prepared to rise above these types of distractions.

A Dorm Is A Terrible Place To Study

Your dorm building will be useful for many things such as sleeping, bathing, and hanging out with your new friends. Studying and doing homework is not one of them. As previously mentioned, there will always be people doing something more fun than what you are doing. Even students who go to class will have free time when you do not. There will always be someone knocking on your door or making noise in the hallway. Even if you do get some studying done, you will always be tempted to cut it short to join in on the fun next door.

Accept the fact that doing work in your dorm room is not going to happen. Instead, make the library one of your first stops when you get to campus. Some campuses have more than one, and others have libraries dedicated to specific majors and programs. Be sure to take a tour and understand where the best places to get some peace and quiet. Start to get into a routine of going to those spots in between classes. This will allow you to give your studies the time and energy they deserve.

It Is Very Easy To Gain Weight

This last one has nothing to do with academics. It has to do with your health. Most students report that they gained some weight when going away to school. Between the options in the dining hall, the take out order with new friends, and your parents no longer making healthy meals, it will be incredibly easy to gain weight.

This can be prevented by preparing for what is coming. First, ensure that you are going to the campus gym 3-4 times a week. Even if you have never gone to the gym before, this is the perfect time to start. Second, make an intentional choice to eat healthy foods and reasonable portions. Now that you understand the importance of these habits, you are much more likely to start building them from the beginning and stick with them throughout the year. 

Conclusion

Going away to college is a wonderful yet complicated experience. There are a lot of new things, people, and situations you will not be used to. The best advice I can give is to speak to those who have already gone through it. Ask current college students and graduates what it was like for them. They will give you all sorts of advice to make your transition as smooth as possible.

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is the founder of To The Next Step, an educational coaching and services company designed to prepare students for the next steps in life including college, entering the workforce and the real world. He offers several students focused services including one on one coaching and on-demand courses. You can learn all about it at www.ToTheNextStep.org or by emailing him directly at Kyle@ToTheNextStep.org. 

 

How myKlovr Can Benefit Homeschooled Students

By Thomas Broderick

As of 2013, approximately 3.4% of all U.S. K-12 students were homeschooled. And each year, the percentage of homeschooled students continues to grow. Parents who choose to homeschool their children do so for many reasons (e.g., concerns about school safety, desire to provide a unique educational experience, having a child with special needs, etc.).

Fortunately, over the last 20 years, the internet and software have radically changed homeschooling. Parents can research the best resources, and students can go more in depth with the material than their peers who attend a traditional public or private school.

Although these advancements have made it possible for more students to receive an excellent education outside the school setting you may have experienced, attending college presents unforeseen challenges for homeschooled students. For example, even if a student plans to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree online, these programs use an application process designed for applicants who attended a public or private high school.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the many barriers homeschooled students face when applying to college. We’ll also explore how myKlovr, our first-of-its-kind virtual college counseling service, can make applying to college a less confusing and frustrating experience.

For Homeschooled Students, Why Is It So Hard To Apply To College?

First off, no one thinks that applying to college is an easy process. Like filing tax returns, the process is bureaucratic, and making a simple mistake could cost you everything. Traditional high school students, even those in schools with inadequate counseling resources, have two advantages that their homeschooled peers do not.

Grades

When it comes to what college admissions counselors value over all else, grades are paramount. Yes, counselors take a holistic approach to every application, but grades are the first thing they review. However, for homeschooled applicants, grades are not a simple matter.

Some states require that parents who homeschool submit grades for their children each year. But how does an admissions counselor view an ‘A’ from a homeschooled applicant when that counselor has no information about the quality of education that the applicant received? And when there are no grades, the process becomes even harder.

For applicants who attended a traditional school, the process is much simpler. High schools often send colleges and universities a fact sheet describing the school’s academic offerings (e.g., number of AP/IB courses), student body demographics, and average and median GPA. With that information in hand, counselors can quickly make a reasonable conclusion about what an applicant’s grades really mean.

Unfortunately, these same difficulties surface when homeschooled students apply to merit-based scholarships, ones that require high school transcripts or use GPA cutoffs.

Counseling Services

Although many traditional high school students throughout the country lack proper college counseling resources, they typically have some access to knowledgeable professionals who can provide help applying to college. Homeschooled students and their families, lacking these resources, must spend precious time researching the best advice on how to apply to college and gain admission to the best school.

How myKlovr Assists Homeschooled Students Apply to College

When we developed myKlovr, we had traditional high school students in mind, those whose college counselors could not provide the time and attention students needed to help them gain admission to a dream college or university. However, our service can offer the same valuable benefits to homeschooled students, as well.

Application Information

After users answer a series of questions concerning standardized test scores, personal interests, extracurricular activities, and academic achievements, we save this information so that they can track their progress over time. This tool can help homeschooled students stay on top of their accomplishments, a useful resource when filling out college applications.

Student Portfolio

College applicants are more than a series of letter grades and test scores. In the Student Portfolio, users input examples of their best academic and extracurricular accomplishments. This way, they can access these examples as they write college essays – telling a unique story to stand out from the hundreds or thousands of other applicants. Also, by creating a portfolio, college applicants improve their organizational skills, something all college students need to succeed academically.

Goal Recommendations

myKlovr’s software uses users’ data to make academic and extracurricular recommendations, a boon for users who have little to no idea how to improve their chances of college admissions success. Adults in a user’s support network (e.g., in the case of homeschooled students, their parents) verify accomplishments as they happen. Goal recommendations tie into myKlovr’s Advanced College Finder.

Advanced College Finder

myKlovr offers users much more than a college search engine. Using users’ data, we recommend a list of College Match schools – colleges and universities that users have an excellent chance of attending if they follow their goal recommendations. We are so confident in our ability to match college applicants with schools that if a user achieves his or her goal recommendations but does not receive admission to a College Match school, we will refund the entire subscription fee.

Financial Fitness Modules

Finally, we understand the difficulty that all students face when searching for and applying to financial aid opportunities. Our financial fitness modules help homeschooled students and their parents explore college savings plans, loans, scholarships, and work-study programs, among other financial aid opportunities.

Final Thoughts

Whether they learn at home or at a high school, students can gain an advantage over other college applicants by using myKlovr. This advantage is especially crucial as many families lack the financial resources to afford professional college admissions advisors, many of whom charge hefty fees. By leveling the playing field, we hope to ensure that all young adults can attend a college that matches their academic interests and career aspirations.

How myKlovr Can Complement Organizations’ Membership Benefits

By Thomas Broderick

Professional and civic organizations connect groups of like-minded people throughout the United States. As you’re reading this article, you or someone in your family is likely a member of one of these organizations. Many of these organizations provide tangible benefits to their members.

When an organization decides which benefits to offer, it considers options that can both address members’ current needs and potential ways in which to attract new members. For this reason, let’s discuss how all organizations should offer myKlovr no matter which age group they target.

Here are a few examples:

Ages 14-18

  • Scouting Organizations: Scouting includes more than just the big-name organizations you may have been involved with as a child. Since 1907, the Scout Movement strives to instill positive qualities (e.g., responsible citizenship, personal growth, and community involvement) in children and adolescents.
    • MyKlovr’s mission dovetails with the Scout Movement’s goals in many ways. Both encourage adolescents to take on personal responsibility, plan for the future, and develop interpersonal skills.
  • Honors Societies: In high schools throughout the nation, academically gifted students can join one or more honors societies. These societies are much more than a resume booster. Members often participate in service-learning (e.g., raising money, volunteering) and other projects.
    • Honors societies attract college-bound high school students. MyKlovr can help these dedicated students create an action plan.

Ages 18-25

  • Trade Unions: Trade unions and apprenticeship programs allow high school graduates to obtain a fulfilling career. However, many of these trades require years of training, a time when young professionals make much less than their mentors.
    • Many excellent community colleges boast one-year certificates and degrees in areas such as HVAC, welding, and carpentry. To help young union members advance faster, unions can offer myKlovr to help these professionals so they can explore educational opportunities.
  • Gig Economy Worker Associations: As the American economy evolves, more young workers are part of the gig economy. Although these jobs provide flexibility, they often do not pay way well nor offer benefits. However, in recent years, these workers have banded together to demand greater rights.
    • As the gig economy does not translate into economic stability for employees, many gig workers wonder whether attending college can improve their career prospects. The organizations that represent these professionals should consider myKlovr for its affordable price and college-search functionality. Like with high school-aged users, young adults can also benefit from our counseling service and success steps.

Ages 25-65

  • Corporations: Employees’ benefits need to evolve each year after they have children. For this reason, your company should continuously monitor employees’ satisfaction with their benefits and research new ones you can offer in the coming years. Not only do benefits for working parents increase employees’ satisfaction and loyalty, but they can also, through word of mouth, help your company attract top talent.
    • The complexity surrounding college admissions can put undue strain on parents and negatively affect their work performance. This challenge is one of the reasons that we at myKlovr designed the first virtual college counseling service that provides students personalized goals aimed at increasing their chances of college admissions success. Employees can review their children’s academic and extracurricular accomplishments at any time.
    • Social Worker and Counselor Organizations: When young men and women need help, social workers and counselors step in to uncover problems and propose solutions. These solutions may involve collaborating with children’s teachers. The organizations that these professionals join emphasize professional development and resources.
      • MyKlovr can help social workers and counselors forge a stronger relationship with the adolescents they serve. For example, a high school student may not have any trusted adults who might support them on their myKlovr journey. Counselors and social workers can use myKlovr to communicate with and help these students.

Ages 65+

  • Retirement Associations: Retirement associations claim millions of members ages 65 and over. They spend much of their resources advocating for lower drug prices and strengthening Social Security.
    • At first glance, it seems that retirement associations and myKlovr would be an odd mix. However, consider retired Americans with grandchildren ages 14 and up. If a retirement association offered myKlovr, members could gift it to their grandchildren. Also, student users could invite grandparents to become part of their support network. In this way, myKlovr has two benefits. Students gain expert college counseling advise, and retired individuals have a new way to interact with their grandchildren.

Final Thoughts

As myKlovr has grown, we have realized that people of all ages can find value in our service. We think that myKlovr would be an excellent addition to your association or organization’s benefits package. Please contact us to learn more about myKlovr and how it can help your organization or association.

A Different Approach To Your College Application Essay

By Kyle Grappone

Colleges will receive thousands of applications every year and each application requires you to write an essay. This is the chance for colleges to get to know you better as a person. Are you the type of student that will thrive at their school and end up being a successful alumnus? Naturally, colleges only want the best students, and try their best to avoid accepting those who may not have the maturity, drive or character to represent the school in the best way possible.

There are a lot of pieces of content out there that speak about how to write your college application essay. However, that advice is only going to take you so far. You are a unique individual with a unique past and set of skills. You must look inside yourself and write an essay that tells your story. If you want your essay to stand out, you must take the right approach when writing your college application essay.

Describe What Type Of Person You Want To Become

The odds are pretty good that at some point in your life you have been asked: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. The issue with this question is that it tends to hold you to one answer. You become stuck on one path, working towards one type of job and career. Furthermore, you are most likely picking that job because it’s one of the few careers you are aware of. Most of the graduates I have surveyed over the years never took the time to research all the different career paths that were open to them.

Before you start your college application process, take some time to ask yourself “What type of person do I want to become?’. When you ask yourself this question, you are no longer beholden to one job or one career path. Instead, you are opened up to a field of opportunities around the type of person you want to become and the impact you want to have on the people around you. Think about what you enjoy, what you are good at, and what you believe you want to spend the rest of your life working towards.

Then, talk about it in your essay. This will accomplish two important things. First, you will stand out. The person reading your essay is most likely in the middle of reading hundreds of essays in the coming weeks and months. Most of those essays will be very similar and talk about why they want to study a specific major. Your essay will cover a broad theme and give the reader an insight into why you are applying to college and what type of student you will be.

Second, this topic will showcase you as an intelligent thinker who is passionate and serious about their future. Remember, schools are using this essay as a way to get insight into you as a person. Anyone reading your essay will see that you have taken significant time out to map your future. You will begin to position yourself as someone who will be an excellent student that the school can be proud of.

Explain How That School Is Going To Help You Become That Person

This is where we get specific. Many students tend to write one essay and send it out to all of their college choices. While this is common practice, it also means that your essay will read like every other one that has been sent in. Your goal now, and always, is to stand out in a way that shows your value and tells your story.

Once you have determined your person, spend time researching the school. Make a list of the possible majors you could take that align with your desired path. See if there are certain faculty you will be working with. Learn about the career center, campus events, and any other opportunities that are going to help you along the way. Begin to tell the story of someone who is driven to become the best version of themselves, and has specifically chosen this school to do that.

Again, this technique helps to accomplish two key goals. First, it gives you a chance to do even more research about the school and confirm it is the right fit. Second, you are showing the reader how dedicated you are to your future. Instead of writing a generic essay, you took the time out to write a letter specifically for that one school. This allows you to show your passion and dedication which proves that you will become a valuable asset to the school if accepted.

Make The Reader Envision You Succeeding At That School

This is where we bring it all together. The individual reading your essay has been tasked with determining if you are the right fit for that school. They have been told to find the best students possible. Students who will come to campus, get good grades, participate in the community, and become successful alumni and proud representatives of the school.

The story you are telling them must be helping them envision you at the school. You want them to envision you going to class, walking around campus, and attending events. You are telling the story of a hardworking, driven student with a clear vision for success. You are showing them how their school, and all these wonderful resources, are going to help you become a valuable student and graduate.

Conclusion

By the time the reader is done with your essay, they should feel as if they need you at there school. That you are the type of student who will play an active role on campus and ultimately become a graduate that they can be proud of. Do not be afraid to be different and go against some of the advice you may read on the internet. Your essay is about telling your story and proving to that college that you are exactly what they are looking for in a student.

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is the founder of To The Next Step, an educational coaching and services company designed to prepare students for the next steps in life including college, entering the workforce and the real world. He offers several students focused services including one on one coaching and on-demand courses. You can learn all about it at www.ToTheNextStep.org or by emailing him directly at Kyle@ToTheNextStep.org

 

5 Questions To Ask A College Alumni

By Kyle Grappone

Selecting a college is an important choice with long term implications for your future. Wherever you choose to go, you are dedicating four years and thousands of dollars to that college and in return, you expect a positive and worthwhile experience. Even more important, the college you end up at needs to give you the best chance to succeed. It must offer you multiple opportunities to prepare you for your chosen career and the real world that awaits you. It also must provide the type of environment that will help you to learn and grow as a student and as a person.

So, how do you know if the college you are looking at is going to deliver these things? Yes, you should research the college ahead of time. One of the most important steps in your college selection process is taking campus tours and asking questions. We covered what questions to ask your campus tour guide in an earlier blog post. While you are visiting the school, you may meet alumni who went to that school. It is fine to ask them questions – but remember that they were chosen to be at that tour or open house for a reason. The school knows they are going to speak about them in a positive light.

To ensure you are getting the whole story, make sure to reach out to at least 3 alumni via social media or mutual connections. This is where you will get the full truth, the good and the bad, about the school you are looking at. Once you find these graduates, you should  ask them specific questions in order to get the information you need and not waste anyone’s time since many will be working professionals. Here are 5 questions to ask and what types of answers to look for.

What was your major and are you working in that field today?

This question is important because a student experience can vary depending on what their major was. Out of the three alumni, you speak to, ensure at least once studied the same subject(s) you plan on pursuing. This gives you an idea of what your time will be like. If certain classes are difficult, you can plan ahead by ensuring you take that class at a time where you function at a high level.

The second part of this question is just as important. This will give you insight into how well the school prepared their graduates for the real world. If the graduate responds by telling you that he is not working in his major you may want to dig deeper. This may lead to an important discovery such as finding out the school has a lackluster career center or has no process in setting their graduates up with companies after graduation.

On the other hand, you may discover that the school in question does a great job in assisting students in their transition into the workforce. These types of positives should be documented and will come in handy when you are comparing schools. Again, it is important to understand every aspect of this school before making this crucial decision.

What was the biggest transitional issue you faced when you started at the college?

 Even if you do all your research and choose the ideal college for your needs and goals, the transition can still be difficult. If you are going away to school, then you are starting a new routine, with new people, in a new environment. If you are not careful then this massive change can overwhelm you and your grades may suffer.

 By asking this question you are getting advice from someone who has already been there. Not only can they tell you what to expect, but they may also bring up something you never even thought of before. This lets you prepare ahead of time and ensure that whatever is coming will not distract from your schoolwork and knock you off course.

 You may also learn something interesting specifically about the school. For example, several students I have spoken to were not prepared to follow a bus schedule to get to class. Many of them missed at least one class due to this issue. Students also talk about the weather at their school and how different it is from where they grew up. It’s up to you and your needs as to whether or not these are disqualifying factors. For some, learning a bus schedule is no big deal. For others, they may prefer to be able to walk to and from class and have complete control over their schedule. The important thing is that you know these issues exist ahead of time and can plan for them.

Did you feel the college prepared you for the workforce and the real world?

Almost any school can teach you the basics of any course of study. However, you want to be sure you attend a college that goes above and beyond that. Not only are you going to college to learn, but you are also going to prepare for the next steps in life and start to build a career and life you will enjoy. This question lets you know if the college offers the opportunity you need to do just that.

This is also where you will most likely get the most passionate answer from the alumnus. Did the college provided them with a great education, valuable internships, and help in finding a job? 

This is where you want to look for trends in the answers you are getting. If you are hearing the same positive or negative things it can help you paint a picture of what it will be like to attend that school. Be sure to document these answers so you can refer to them later. The biggest thing to look out for is whether or not the school is going to help you reach your goals and start your career off in the right direction.

What was your favorite and least favorite thing about the school?

Again you are looking for two things in the answers you get here. Emotion and trends. This is where you can tell if a student feels passionately one way or another about the school. It also helps continue to paint that picture we started in the last question. Either way, these answers should help you understand if the school you are looking at is worth your time and money.

Pay attention to how much time they spend answering both parts of this question. If they go on and on about all their favorite things and cannot name anything negative, then that is a great sign. On the other hand, if the conversation once again turns negative, that is a red flag that needs to be explored. Again, you should not disqualify a school because someone has something negative to say about it. 

Lastly, examine the quality of these answers. If the best part of the school is the parties or the ice cream, that is not a good enough reason to go there. Just like if the worst part of the school is that the football team is in last place or you have to walk up several hills, that is not a good reason to cross it off your list. You want to look for answers such as quality of the lecture halls, campus life, access to resources, and other things that are rooted in education, academics, and the impact on your ability to grow and succeed.

If you could go back in time, would you attend the school again?

If you are in a situation where you feel like you can only ask one or two of these questions, be sure to ask this one. You will get an honest answer and most likely get the reasoning behind it. Notice the emotion and passion when they answer this question. If they say they would attend again – they will speak highly of the school and you will be able to tell that they enjoyed their time there. If they would not attend again – you will learn why and it could be the main reason you decide not to go to that school.

Conclusion

Speaking to alumni is just one part of the college selection process. At the end of it, you will need to choose a college that fits your specific needs and goals. Talking to people who went to that school is an ideal way to learn about what to expect. The most important thing is to look for trends among the answers you get. If you are lucky enough to speak to alumni in person be sure to notice the emotion they use when talking about the school. By asking these questions you will have important data points that will help you when it comes time to picking a school.

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is the founder of To The Next Step, an educational coaching and services company designed to prepare students for the next steps in life including college, entering the workforce and the real world. He offers several students focused services including one on one coaching and on-demand courses. You can learn all about it at www.ToTheNextStep.org or by emailing him directly at Kyle@ToTheNextStep.org. 

 

Why High School Counselors Struggle (And What We Can Do About It)

By Thomas Broderick

I spent my entire K-12 education attending public schools in the same district. I received excellent academic support services from my schools’ counselors, without which I would have never been able to attend Vanderbilt University as an undergraduate.

Years later, I returned to my old school district – one of the richest in the United States – to teach at a high school just down the street from the one where I graduated. Over the next four years, I saw a different side of education, one where students lacked the counseling resources that had helped me succeed.

Many of my students, not knowing much about higher education, wrote off college as an unattainable dream. Also, they had no time during the school day to explore career-preparation programs, trade schools, or other educational opportunities that could have prepared them for the next stages of their lives. These issues were not entirely the fault of the counselor. Yes, you read that right. The entire high school, one that catered to at-risk students, had only one counselor.

Unfortunately, this isn’t uncommon in the United States. The average high school counselor works with approximately double the recommended number of students that the American School Counselor Association recommends. And in many parts of the country, the counselor-to-student ratio is growing.

In this article, we’ll look at how proper counseling can help students, why this isn’t happening, and how myKlovr has stepped up to provide a service that assists high school students with college admissions and makes counselors more effective professionals.

The Challenge High School Counselors Face

In a perfect world, counselors would have time to analyze students’ academic – as well as emotional and social – needs. Counselors would meet with students at multiple points throughout the year to discuss progress, challenges, and goals. Finally, counselors would have detailed notes to refer to before working with a student – much like a patient file a doctor uses during a checkup. In this world, high school students would not only receive excellent advice but would also have a solid action plan for after high school.

However, the typical high school counselor is responsible for nearly 500 students. This workload leaves them little time to address students’ needs, let alone learn names. As a result, students spend only a few minutes each year with a counselor.

Sadly, too few counselors working with too many students is only one part of the problem that 21st-century counselors face.

Only So Many Hours in the Day

School counselors’ job responsibilities extend much further than what most people realize, and when Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)in 2001, counselors found themselves with an even larger job description. Before NCLB, high school counselors were responsible for administering some high-stakes standardized tests (e.g., AP, ACT, SAT). In the district where I grew up and taught, each of these tests took place during school hours, further reducing counselors’ time for other activities.

By the time I started teaching 10 years after NCLB became law, my school’s counselor was responsible for state- and district-level assessments. There were pre-assessments, formative assessments, and benchmarks sprinkled throughout the year. Although teachers administered these tests, it was the counselor’s responsibility to analyze the data, further taking time away from students.

Besides additional responsibilities, counselors are some of the first targets when a school or district tightens its budget. Districts make this choice despite overwhelming evidence that reducing the number of counselors increases the dropout rate.

Although some school districts have embraced change and hired additional counselors, most counselors still struggle with finding time for their primary duty: serving students. For this reason, counselors need resources that can make their limited time with students more efficient and effective.

One such resource is myKlovr.  

The myKlovr Advantage

Our goal at myKlovr to provide college-bound students with personalized college admissions advice. Our service helps students identify their academic strengths and weaknesses, create an action plan, and research colleges that would be a good fit. Concerning the latter, we develop a College Match for each user – a list of schools that a student would have an excellent chance of receiving admission if he or she followed the action plan we recommend. Parents, counselors, teachers, and other trusted adults can stay up to date with that student’s academic and extracurricular progress by receiving notifications or accessing the student’s profile.

We are so confident in our ability to help students go to college that if a student cannot gain acceptance to any of his or her College Match schools, we will gladly refund the entire subscription fee.

Final Thoughts

High schoolers throughout the nation suffer from a lack of counseling resources, and counselors are overburdened to the point where they cannot provide their limited resources effectively. MyKlovr aims to close the gap. Students receive individualized advice, and counselors can keep up to date with their students’ evolving needs.

Students of all Achievement Levels Cheating. But who’s to Blame?

By Matt Wujciak

Whether your parents like it or not, cheating has been a part of academia since the beginning. The nature of cheating, however, is rapidly changing. There have always been struggling students who cheat so survive.

However, more and more studies in the past few years have shown that higher achieving students are beginning to cheat to get ahead, and stay ahead. According to the NY Times, studies on student behavior have shown that the majority of students violate academic standards and integrity to some degree.

The reason is fairly simple. It’s easy. As Gen Z is growing up using conveniently enhanced technology at their fingertips throughout the school day (or at home), students are tempted to compromise their integrity and work ethic for a better grade or less time spent completing an assignment.

Not to mention, educators, parents, and leaders of society are failing to alleviate this world-wide academic phenomenon in a couple ways. Between new media outlets and downloadable pieces of software, the internet truly has changed perceptions on what exactly we consider “ownership.” No one is pointing fingers there… yet.

However, as a result, students are unclear about the guidelines of assignments, especially when a lack of differentiation is given on which resources are allowed and which are not. Take a look at the Harvard cheating scandal from 2012.

A professor issued a take-home final with directions on the first page reading as follows, “The exam is completely open book, open note, open internet, etc. However, in all other regards, this should fall under similar guidelines that apply to in-class exams. More specifically, students may not discuss the exam with others—this includes resident tutors, writing centers, etc.”

Why would a professor use “etc.” in his policies? What other “open” resources are allowed, then?? Regardless, the scandal lead to an investigation of half of the 279 students enrolled in the course, around 2 percent of the undergraduate body, leading to law suits from each side, as well as a number of various and severe disciplinary actions… an absolute catastrophe.

Who was guilty and who was not is not the point. It is the systematic approach from both sides of the cheating phenomenon that must be corrected. Howard Gardner, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education said that over the 20 years he has studied professional and academic integrity, “the ethical muscles have atrophied,” in part because of a culture that exalts success, however it is attained.”

Cheating may be easy. Cheating may be unclearly defined. However, do yourself a favor and think about what’s at stake next time you contemplate cheating. Most students feel the need to cheat from factors such as academic pressure, lack of organization and preparedness, or poor communication and understanding.

Let myKlovr 2.0 take care of these influences for you by using this application to help you earn your desired grades, college experience, job placement, and future.

Your Ticket to Academic Success

By Matt Wujciak

It’s no secret ladies and gentleman. High school is one of the most imperative milestones in setting up a brighter and happier future. Everyone wants to perform at their best, keep parents off their back with a stellar GPA, and most importantly, land that dreamy college experience and education.

However, in today’s fast pace and chaotic education system, many skills to achieving success are often times overlooked. Everyone’s heard fellow classmates and friends blame their grades on study habits, poor time management skills, IQ, or even raw genetics. Us students seem to be losing sight of the level of control that we have over our future. And it’s easier than you would think.

The answer? Organization. Organization is a tool that everyone is born with, but not everyone unlocks. What separates the most successful students from the underachieving students has less to do with native intelligence indicated by IQ tests, background, or social class than one would guess. It is about the conscious choice of organization. Take a look at KIPP’s cultural organization, for example. KIPP is a free nationwide network of college-prep schools, originally started in New York City.

Examining the KIPP school in Brooklyn, “the children come from circumstances that lead regularly to academic failure and dropping out, but in this school they do very well indeed. By the end of 8th grade, 84 percent of the students perform at or above grade level, compared to a figure for the district schools in the area of 16 percent.” (Malcom Gladwell). It is cultural organization-based institutions like these that disrupt the education process in a positive manner.

How does KIPP help their students produce such successful results, you’re probably wondering. KIPP instills the practice of hard work and organization among their students at a very young age. KIPP educators inspire this regularly practiced skill set among their students by having them get up unusally early in order to make it to morning class on time, manage deadlines and assignments on a strict curriculum, set academic goals on a weekly and monthly basis, plan out ways to achieve them, and are checked in on periodically. 

It is prioritization tools like these that separate a student’s academic achievements in order to create an upward spiral for a healthier and happier life. In fact, don’t forget to check out the tool for helping you achieve those goals, upon myKlovr 2.0’s launching date.

What Is a Virtual College Counselor?

By Thomas Broderick

Every year, applying to college becomes a more frustrating and challenging process. Also, cut-throat competition to attend the nation’s best colleges and universities have made acceptance rates plummet, even at colleges that were considered safety schools just a few short years ago.

All college applicants should have a trusted advisor to guide them through the process. For some students, that person is the college counselor at their school. For others, it is a private college counselor paid for by parents.

But what if your school’s college counselor is always busy? What if your family can’t afford the fees charged by private college counselors?

To help students like you, myKlovr created the world’s first virtual college counselor.

Virtual College Counseling: The Basics

A virtual counselor performs many of the same functions as a high school college counselor:

  • Goal setting
  • Advising
  • Progress tracking
  • College research and recommendations

What myKlovr has done is taken these functions and put them into a platform. Using the answers you provide to our academic and personal questions, the platform creates a series of goals for you to accomplish throughout high school. All of these goals are designed to help you increase your college admissions chances, even if you don’t yet know where you want to go to college.

Once you receive your goals, you have the option to further custom tailor them. You can choose to replace specific goals with others that better fit your needs. After that, it’s time to start working towards your short and long-term goals. 

How myKlovr Helps You

MyKlovr is so much more than a computer algorithm in a shiny package. It’s a network of trusted advisors that help set academic and personal goals and see them through to completion. That way, you are not just interacting with a computer; you’re communicating with your parents, teachers, high school counselors, and other adults whose advice you need to navigate the college application process successfully. As you accomplish your academic and personal goals, they confirm your progress and receive relevant updates.

Advantages Over Solely Using Your School’s College Counselors

The primary benefit of myKlovr is that you can access the services of a virtual college counselor anytime, anywhere. When you have a question, we’ll answer it. When you need personalized advice, we can help. When you can’t wait to see your school’s college counselor, we’ll be there. Gone are the days of making appointments or waiting in line.

Advantages Over Other Private College Counseling Services

One word: money. The best private college counselors’ hourly fee compares to that charged by top lawyers. Over two years, those fees can add up to the price of a good used car.

myKlovr’s base price of $19.99/month provides the same benefits of private college counseling at a fraction of the cost. Also, you gain a digital college application portfolio that will help you tremendously when it comes time to apply to college. Think about it: if you use myKlovr throughout high school, you’ll have curated and organized all the materials you need to write stellar personal essays.

Future you will thank present you.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a high school freshman, sophomore, or junior, I encourage you to sign up for myKlovr and give it a try. The basic features are free, which means you can see if it’s a good fit before you or your parents invest a single penny.

I am sure that once you get to know myKlovr, it will become an invaluable tool for your college application journey.

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