Free college planning workshops for your organization

Posted by Uncommon Individual Foundation on October 16, 2017

OnTrack Workshop Descriptions

Essay Writing (College Admissions and/or Scholarships) 

From learning how to write their names, to writing biographies and research papers, most students know the basics of writing. They know how a paper should be structured, and what a supporting detail is, but many students lack, or have not developed, the skills necessary to write excellent college admissions and/or scholarship essays. These essays are influential during the admissions process and when applying for scholarships.

In this interactive workshop your students will learn:
● The Importance of College Admissions and Scholarship Essays
● What makes an excellent essay
● Strategies for writing college and/or scholarship essays
● The Do’s and Don’ts of college and/or scholarship essay writing

Navigating High School 

The transition from middle school to high school is critical to students’ success throughout high school. It is at this point along the Pre-K-16 pipeline that students are exposed to various factors (more peers, possible bad habits, larger school environment, etc.) that could all have an impact (positive or negative) on his or her success.
In this interactive workshop we hope to keep students and/or parents on track by discussing:

● Habits of Highly Successful Students
● What to expect when entering high school (for 8th graders)
● What do you do when unexpected things happen?  (Personal, academic, social, and psychological)

Goal Setting and Planning 

“A goal without a plan is just a dream.” It is not enough to simply want to do something –whatever that “something may be.” In order to make a goal reality, one must take action. Taking action means creating a plan to carry out the tasks necessary to complete the goal. Let us support your students by giving them the basic tools necessary to not only set goals, but to accomplish them!  In this interactive workshop students will learn:

● The importance of goals and goal setting
● What is a “SMART” goal?
● Different approaches for goal setting

College Planning 

This interactive workshop provides a framework for how sophomores and juniors should begin navigating the process of “going to college.” Planning for college starts long before students enter their senior year. Now is the time to urge students to deeply consider and begin thinking about college costs, colleges they want to attend, and even requirements for going to college. It is our hope that this interactive workshop will spark additional conversations between students and parents upon receiving this information.  During this interactive workshop, students will develop a deeper understanding and knowledge of:

● What it means to make the decision to go to college
● Early steps to take in the college planning process
● How to be proactive in their pursuit of postsecondary education attainment

The College Application Process

One of the biggest barriers to going to college is the dreaded application process. This interactive workshop functions to help students better understand the process of applying to college and briefly covers what to do after you have applied to college. After this interactive workshop, students will be able to:

● Describe the components of a traditional college application
● Identify strategies for applying to college smoothly
● Understand what the Common Application is and how using it can benefit him or her
● Complete a college application and know what to do afterwards

Understanding Financial Aid

Knowing about financial aid is just as important as applying to colleges when it comes to the college application process. After all, most people cannot afford to go to college without applying for federal assistance to do so. In this interactive workshop, we will provide foundational knowledge about financial aid that will be beneficial as parents and/or students develop financial plans to fund their college education(s).  The conversation will revolve around the following topics:

● What is financial aid?
● How do you get financial aid?
● The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
● The role of the FAFSA in the financial aid process
● Your financial aid award letter

FAFSA Walkthrough and Completion

In an attempt to demystify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), we have designed this interactive workshop to assist parents and/or students with understanding the FAFSA. Through a comprehensive walkthrough of (the official FAFSA website) parents and students both will leave with a greater knowledge of what the FAFSA is, why it is necessary, and how to complete the FAFSA.  During this interactive workshop students and/or parents will:

● Get a detailed walkthrough of the FAFSA website
● Learn what the FAFSA is and why it is important to complete regardless of income status
● Receive additional resources for understanding and completing the FAFSA

The Transition to College 

Applying to college (and getting accepted) is only the beginning of the journey to postsecondary education attainment. After getting accepted to college there are additional steps that need to be taken in order to ensure a smooth transition to college. It is often during this period that students fail to complete the necessary requirements and as a result, do not enroll into college the following Fall.  In this interactive workshop students will learn:

● What is needed from most colleges after being accepted
● What to expect in college
● Ways to make sure that you do not “melt away” during the summer before college enrollment

Social Media Usage

In today’s society, advances in technology have made social media a popular form of communicating with others, sharing information and expressing ideas. While created for positive use, oftentimes the original intent of social media is misconstrued and it is often misused. Students should be aware of the useful purposes of social media and how misuse could negatively impact their reputations, and even their futures.  In this interactive workshop students will learn:

● The original intent of social media and how it has changed over time
● The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media
● How social media can be used positively

For more information or to schedule a workshop contact Shakia Kirksey; OnTrack Assistant Director of College Readiness Programs at (

Also visit and to learn more

All workshops are available for customization according to the wants and/or needs of the requesting organization. Information can be provided as one individual workshop, or as a series of workshops.  Other topics not listed can also be covered. If you have a specific topic you would like for us to cover, please let us know.

More in "New Resources"

Stay Current in Philly's Higher Education and Nonprofit Sector

We compile a weekly email with local events, resources, national conferences, calls for proposals, grant, volunteer and job opportunities in the higher education and nonprofit sectors.