The Opportunity: A College Access Newsletter

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We believe in human potential, opportunity, and the ability to succeed.
We are student-founded, student-led, and dedicated to empowering students to access and afford college.

This is The Opportunity: A College Access Newsletter.

It features tools, tips, and advice from our own experiences and also the best college access tools we've found.

Issue Seven: November 29, 2018
Issue Theme: Great Organizations that Help Students Succeed.


A Shout-Out to our Partner Orgs

We create resources for students, but we also look for and collaborate with groups that also offer great student opportunities. It's all about giving and getting a fair opportunity! Here are two worth checking out:


How do you find a college that’s perfect for you? What scholarships should you go for?

College Greenlight helps you build a solid college list.  They use information that you provide about your school record and interests to plug into over $11 billion scholarship possibilities. You’ll get a list of the ones you qualify for.

Plus, you can apply to multiple colleges as a Greenlight Scholar with one application and no fee—that’s a great option for saving time and cost. College Greenlight is focused on serving first-generation and underrepresented students, while every student can use Cappex, the comprehensive college and scholarship website that runs College Greenlight. 

College Greenlight also compiles the most detailed list you'll find of "fly-in programs"—colleges that will pay for most or all of the costs of a campus visit. Campus visits are powerful ways to get a feel for the college! These fly-in programs should be on your radar, before your senior year.

The Coalition for College provides a new way for you to plan your path to college.

What’s new?

You can set up a digital “Locker” to stash the essays, visual art, or quick notes on the clubs and activities you do, starting in ninth grade. This could actually mean that senior year looks slightly less frantic as you pull together these things for college applications!

It also helps you find the colleges that keep your debt low and your odds high for getting that college degree. Every college that accepts the Coalition application has committed to these very important goals, and they're located all over the country: 

You can find the complete list of those colleges hereand the list keeps growing. 

There are a lot of different features you can explore on the Coalition website, like
application fee waivers and a virtual collaboration space, along with the application that more than 150 colleges accept. Curious about how it all works? A lot of those questions are answered right on the website.

Fair Opp Faves: Tools We Like

Each issue of this newsletter we’ll highlight one cool tool or resource. Maybe it’s for finding the right college, covering college costs, or staying on top of the application process. We only share tools that we’ve checked out and that are free for students.

Where can you find detailed, illustrated instructions on the FAFSA in English, Spanish, and 8 other languages? On the website! The FAFSA is the form you need for federal financial aid and this manual answers all kinds of questions about the documents you need, your parents' role in this, and more. Free paper copies also are available through the websitewhile supplies last. 

What’s Your Question?

Send us your questions and we’ll respond to them here!

“Why would I want to go on a study abroad program in college?"-Jacob L. 

Hey, Jacob! Great question. Because you'll get some really awesome Instagram pics! Seriously, sometimes you learn the mostabout yourself and otherswhen you go beyond your comfort zone. Living and learning in another country can be a really powerful way to do that. You often end up learning more about yourself and your culture as you experience other cultures.

Most four-year colleges offer study abroad programs to their students, and 16% of all college students took advantage this year. You can find programs as short as a few weeks and as long as an entire year.

There are programs in almost every continent (sorry, Antarctica), and in hundreds of countries. Study abroad can be one of those experiences that shape what you want to do in life!

Here are some practical details that are important to consider:

  1. Ask how your financial aid will apply to the study abroad experience. The college may have grants or other ways to cover additional costs like airfare or passport and visa requirements.

  2. Understand how the classes and the credits you take abroad will count towards your college major and degree. Plan early with your advisorlike in your freshman yearand you’ll stay on track to graduate in four years.

  3. Don’t rule out this experience if you have a disability. More and more students with disabilities are participating each year, and there are helpful guides to make it a great experience.

Bon voyage, Jacob! 

Introducing our new Mentor Network

How will students communicate with their mentors?

Our program is focused on facilitating mentorship via face-to-face meetings, video, and email. Students can decide which method works best with their needs, logistics permitting.

Who are the mentors?

Fair Opportunity Project will pair students with recent college admits from the community, using our data and the help of local counselors. The idea is that the best mentor is not someone from the other side of the country who has just heard your school name ten minutes ago – it’s someone who knows your community, and all the difficulties of applying to college it entails, who’s been trained with college advising resources of the highest quality.

How often will mentors communicate with students?

We aim to provide a minimum of 2 hours of mentorship per month with students for as long as their college applications require – often significantly more. At the six month mark, we assess the relationship based on student needs.

What are the requirements for students to participate?

The only requirement for students is dedicated participation. Fair Opportunity Project’s goal is to provide free college advising to any student with an interest in applying to college.

What do you offer students during mentoring?

Our model centers on a coaching-mentoring approach. Our mentors are trained to advise students using information from our curriculum, with all the resources Fair Opportunity Project has to offer, and to coach students towards their self-generated goals regarding college admissions.

Do you work independently or through school counselors or parents and guardians?

We work closely with school counselors to facilitate mentorship. With the help of Fair Opportunity Project, the counselor acts as a facilitator “on the ground” for the student-mentor relationship.

How long is the program?

The mentorship program is set up for one year in the first instance, working towards college application submissions. As the program develops, students will receive mentoring for as long as their college applications require.

What are your goals for the program and for students?

Our goal is to help level the playing field of college admissions in the US. We want everyone to be able to have good college advising, no matter their zip code or background. Our goals for students lie along a spectrum from assisting students in their journey towards submitting a college application to helping students develop goals and plan towards their achievement. We expect all of our mentees to submit a college application to a school of their choice at the end of the mentorship cycle.

What’s the catch?

There is none. We do this to help students from all backgrounds succeed.

Learn More about the Mentor Network

Upcoming Dates to Know


The FAFSA 2019-20 application opened on October 1, so don't delay! Here’s a great checklist.

Dec. 1: SAT test date

Dec. 8: ACT test date

Jan. 11: Regular registration deadline for Feb. 9 ACT

Feb. 8: Regular registration deadline for March 9 SAT

Feb. 9: ACT test date

Ongoing: Free FAFSA completion workshops throughout Illinois.

Ongoing: College fairs offered in cities nationwide; dates and locations here.


Have a date you want us to include? Let us know!

Got a question for us? We've got an app for that!….


Support button on website

On the Fair Opportunity Project website, you'll find a blue "Ask Us a Question" in the bottom right corner. Submit your college question and we'll send your answer in a jiffy!

Your donation to Fair Opportunity Project will allow us to reach more students with free resources about college admissions and financial aid.

That’s it for this issue! Thanks for reading. More tips and tools in our December issue. You’d make us even happier by sharing this newsletter. It’s all about giving and getting a Fair Opportunity.


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Copyright © 2018 Fair Opportunity Project. All rights reserved.


Previous Newsletters

Issue Six: November 13, 2018 (Scholarship Searches Don't Need to Consume Your Life)

Issue Five: October 31, 2018 (The College Essay Should Not be like Halloween)

Issue Four: October 17, 2018 (Finding the Right College (Part Two))

Issue Three: October 2, 2018 (Finding the Right College (Part One))

Issue Two: September 19, 2018 (Making the Most of High School)

Issue One: September 4, 2018 (Thinking about College & How to Pay for It)