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Philadelphia Futures releases mobile app to help college-bound students

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Philadelphia Futures recently announced the launch of its new mobile app, a digital resource to accompany its popular Step Up to College Guide for students, families, and college access professionals. This is the latest digital innovation made available by the nonprofit organization, which works to support low-income, first-generation-to-college students to and through college.

The free mobile app is available for download in the iTunes App Store and Google Play.

“As apps have become an increasingly popular way of receiving information, it was essential that we embrace this technology and meet students where they are,” said Joan Mazzotti, executive director of Philadelphia Futures.

The mobile app’s features are geared toward user needs on the go. One feature provides questions for students to ask when visiting college campuses. Suggestions include questions about four-year graduation rates and the academic profile of the typical admitted student. The app even has space for students to record and save answers to compare with other schools of interest.

Students can also fill out a form to find a school with the best academic, social, and financial fit for them. Students answer questions pertaining to academic needs, such as intended major, and other factors, such as the distance of the school from Philadelphia. Once this form is filled out, students can enter information pertaining to individual colleges and universities, and the app will provide a percentage of “fit” for each school.

The app has a college cost calculator where students can input direct costs, such as tuition and fees, and indirect costs, including transportation expenses, to determine the financial accessibility of different institutions. Each school can be saved individually so that users can compare different options.

The grade-specific checklists that are available in the print version of the Step Up to College Guide can also be found on the app. These checklists, one for each high school grade and one specifically aimed at family members, are broken down by month to keep students on track to apply and enroll in college.

Other features include step-by-step information for filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), resources for students looking for scholarship opportunities, and a college application tracker.

The app is the latest addition to the free resources that Philadelphia Futures supplies to the city’s students. Along with the print edition of the Step Up to College Guide, the organization provides interactive resources at www.stepuptocollege.org, a video web series detailing the college application process, and Facebook and Twitter pages.
All of these resources are now linked through the app’s “Staying Connected” feature. This feature should keep the necessity for updates at a minimum, though the nonprofit will consider user feedback in any future updates to the app.

“With the addition of the app, the Guide is now an even more powerful resource for Philadelphia’s college-bound students,” said Mazzotti.

 
 

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