How the Office of Higher Ed wants to make the college search process easier

All in the palm of your hand

Here’s a neat idea the state Office of Higher Education has come up with: a free smartphone app that helps students stay on top of their college search.

Here’s the OHE announcement by Director Larry Pogemiller. I’ve put in bold the stuff that sounds pretty nifty:

Dear Colleagues,

Better student planning and preparation are essential to increasing postsecondary attainment.  Today the Office of Higher Education is introducing a new tool that will help students start early, stay on track and make good choices about their education. Just as important, this new tool is available to them on their phone, providing access to the information they need, in a platform that is personal and familiar.

The Minnesota College Planner is a web application that can be downloaded for free, and is accessible via Facebook or an email address. It provides students with their own personal toolkit to explore college options and manage the tasks associated with preparing for and applying to college.  Students can use the mobile app to answer many financial aid questions as they are searching for schools, a task that was previously more challenging than a few quick swipes on a phone.

The College Planner lets students browse Minnesota colleges and universities profiles, sorted by size, location, price and major. It can help them set up campus visits and track their favorites.

The Task List helps them start planning and staying on track as early as 8th grade. They will be reminded of upcoming events, such as ACT testing dates and when to fill out the FAFSA, and can follow appropriate timelines for when they need to have pieces of their applications completed.

This mobile site has been designed for students, giving them the ability to have some control and help with their own college planning.  For example, the Planner will guide them as to what classes they should be taking in high school to meet the entrance guidelines for their dream career, which can help keep their goals realistic and focused.

To begin using the web application, a student can visit the website www.mncollegeplanner.com on their phone and download the College Planner. The Minnesota College Planner mobile site and associated data resides on a secure server to maintain the privacy of the student.

This is an important step toward helping more Minnesota students prepare for college in a quickly growing technological society.