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Local Community Group Brings Guidance

Local Community Group Brings Guidance

A local community group brought college guidance to Hastings-on-Hudson families this past week.

Parenting Children of Color (P-CoC) is an Ardsley-on-Hudson community organization aimed at supporting and advocating for fair treatment, ethnic representation, and education for persons of color. This past Thursday, P-CoC held a virtual college preparation event to help local families understand the college application process as well as how to apply for financial aid.

Several students and family members logged on to the event. Jolene Brown, part of P-CoC’s Educational Program Team, helmed the presentation and made it clear that P-CoC is there to help despite the college application process looking a little different this year.

“A lot of the times students try to do this on their own,” she said. “Even if their parents are familiar with the college process. It is completely different from last year and years before.”

Brown said her goal for the presentation was to give local families the information they need in an understandable format. She broke down tips and tricks for navigating the college search and application process as well as grant, fellowship, and financial aid options.

“The main thing is the financial aid portion, especially if the students are the first ones to go to college in their family,” she said. “There’s a lot of information that they may not know or fully understand.”

Dr. Damaris-Lois Yamoah Lang, President of P-CoC, said that first generation college students in the community also may have misconceptions about the college application process and their eligibility for financial aid.

“You have a lot of first generation students with the notion that they cannot apply for financial aid which is not true,” she said.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Brown said some students are changing their approach to applying to college this year, including the consideration of two-year institutions that may be more affordable.

“Should they go to a four-year school and pay a higher amount to do classes on their own at home when they could do the same classes at a two-year school and transfer the credits,” she said. “If you’re going to do the same exact class why wouldn’t you pay less for it?”

She also said that other factors play a part in selecting and applying for college this year and she educated them on the possibility of different outcomes after college. With many college students grappling with debt during and after their post-secondary education, Brown wants to make high school students aware of the current trends.

“In the current situation in our country where the student loan debt is so high,” she said. “I want to give them as much information as possible so they can make the best decisions for themselves and their families.

Brown said that although students will be applying to college this year through better or worse, she maintains that organizations such as P-CoC are around to help guide students and their families through the process of applying.

“Be willing to ask for help,” she said. “Look for programs that are willing to help you.”