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http://gradguru.weebly.com/

We’re in the process of transferring websites… this one is way better!

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GradGuru for Android is HERE!

I have the most exciting news to share! GradGuru is NOW AVAILABLE on Google Play for all Android phones! Check it out here!

You asked and we listened! We can’t wait to hear what you think!

Let us know in the comments, our Facebook page or simply by rating the app! We love our users and we are always looking for new features to add or things we can improve upon! Download it today and graduate faster!

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We’ve added 50 new community colleges!

You asked for them, you got ’em!  Thanks to all of you who asked us to add your school… Here they are! And stay tuned…. we’re releasing the Android app in the next few days!

Alan Hancock College
Austin Community College
Barstow Community College
Broward College
Butte College
Calhoun Community College
Canada College
Chemeketa Community College
City College San Jose
College of San Mateo
College of the Desert
Community College of Allegheny County
Contra Costa College
Cuyamaca College
CyFair Community College
Delaware County Community College
Evergreen Valley College
Fresno City College
Front Range Community College
Genesee Community College
Georgia Gwinnett Community College
Grossmont College
Guilford Technical Community College
Kingwood Community College
Long Beach City College
Mission College
Monroe Community College
Montgomery Community College
Moreno Valley College
Mt. San Antonio College
Norco College
North Harris Community College
Northshore Technical Community College
Portland Community College
Riverside City College
Tomball Community College
West Valley College

 

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Education Plan: What it is & Why you need one!

With spring semester right around the corner, I thought I’d ring in the new year by tackling a big topic for this blog post, “The Education Plan”.

If you have the GradGuru app, you have probably noticed that when we remind you of your drop deadlines, we always suggest that you talk to your counselor first and that you update you education plan so that you stay on track.

First, if you don’t have the GradGuru app on your smart phone, go DOWNLOAD it now! If you have an iphone, its already in the app store and it’s FREE. It is the first and only app designed specifically for community college students. It reminds you of all your important deadlines (like when enrollment opens, when to add and drop classes etc) and is also FULL of proven tips and tricks that help you graduate faster!

If you have an android phone, click here and then click the android button and give us your email and we will let you know the moment GradGuru is available for android phones… we are building the android version right now and it will be ready before the start of spring semester.

Okay, so now, what’s and education plan? Why do I need one?

An education plan is a course planning map that you make with your counselor based on your educational goal. It’s basically your guide to how to get from where you are now, to where you want to be.

It should include at least 1-2 years of course planning. Meaning, you have not only planned your classes for this coming semester, you will have planned two or three semester in the future as well.

This type of longer term planning is extremely important because we all know how hard it can be to get an appointment with a counselor when you need one. You don’t want to be scrambling in the last two weeks before classes start trying to figure out what classes you need. Or worse yet, taking classes that you don’t need and wasting your valuable time!

An education plan will also help you shape your goal. I can’t tell you how important it is to have some kind of solid goal that you can work towards in community college. Having an education plan establishes a solid finish line. If you don’t have a finish line, it’s super hard to stay motivated.

So what if you don’t know exactly what your goal is? Don’t worry, I’ll get to that in a second.

So how do you get an education plan?

First you need to make an appointment with a counselor. When you make your appointment, let the receptionist (or whoever) know that you need to make an ED plan and that you’d like to have as much time with the counselor as possible. Thirty minutes or more is ideal.

Next start thinking about your goal. Chances are you are going to fall into one of three categories as far as how clear your goal is…. so, who are you?

Student 1 – I know exactly what I want to do. Maybe you have a really clear career goal such as an electrician, radiologist, veterinary tech or addiction counselor. Or you just have a really clear educational goal like you want to transfer to a UC or State University. If this sounds like you, that’s great!

When you meet with your counselor, let them know exactly what you want to do and the timeline in which you would like to meet your goal. Be sure to tell them what kind of outside obligations you have (like children, full or part-time job, hobbies etc). Letting your counselor know how fast you want to meet your goal AND obligations that are going to compete with your time spent on homework/study etc will help you plan a realistic timeframe and balance your course load.

The best thing about knowing exactly what your goal is, is that you can plan your entire time in community college in your education plan. Plan all your classes from your first – last semester so that you have a really clear path to your goal!

Student 2 – I have a general idea what I want to do (ie I want to be in a job that helps people) … or I’m interested in a certain discipline (I really like science). Even knowing what you don’t want to do is helpful ( ie I know I don’t want to do any profession that requires a lot of math). Maybe you have a somewhat clear or open-ended educational goal, for example, I know I want to get my AA degree and maybe more… If this sounds like you, that’s awesome!

This is what I sounded like when I entered community college. I knew I wanted to get a 4-year college degree of some sort, and I thought I wanted to be in some kind of “people” profession, I was also interested in psychology and sociology.

When you meet with your counselor, let them know all of this. Be sure to let them know your clearest goal. Student 2 was pretty sure s/he wanted to get an AA degree. Let your counselor know your goal and your interests. They can help you plan classes around a major that might interest you.

Planning around a major might help you narrow down your career interests. The best thing about a major is that you can always change it. If after your first semester, you aren’t enjoying your coursework, meet with your counselor again!

Let them know how you’re feeling. Tell them what classes you did enjoy. Take what you learned and use that knowledge to think about what kind of career you might enjoy. Together with your counselor, amend your ED plan as necessary while keeping the same end goal of an AA degree (or whatever your goal is). This will keep you on track to your goal even if you need to change some classes.

Student 3 – I have no idea what I want out of community college. None at all. I feel like I need to get more education (0r I’m interested in education) but I don’t know what I want to do with it. If this sounds like you, that’s fine too!

Look over the course catalogue. Pick some classes that you think sound interesting. Talk to your counselor and ask to start on a general education plan but don’t overload yourself with boring classes, that’s why you looked over the course catalogue for interesting ones!

Do half & half! If you’re taking a full load, take two classes that you want to take and take two classes that count towards your general education requirements like and english class, math class or humanities class. This way, if you decide next semester on an educational goal like an AA degree or decide you want to pursue a 4-year degree, you’ll already be on your way!

Be sure to talk to your counselor again before the next semester and let her/him know what you thought of your first semester. Tell them what classes you liked and what classes you didn’t like. Tell them why. Share your new ideas for your future goals (trust me, you’ll have some new ideas). Maybe by the end of your first semester, you’ll sound a little more like Student 2. Then you can plan a little further and get a little closer to a new goal!

An important note for all of you. Hopefully you won’t need this tip, but don’t let your counselor rush you. They are there to HELP you. They’re getting paid to sit there and answer your questions and you are paying to sit there and have your questions answered.

Always remember, you are the one sitting in front of them and that means that you are the most important student to them in that moment. Using the Student 1, 2, 3 guide discussed above, figure out who you are, and make a list of questions you need to have answered. Don’t leave their office feeling like you didn’t get what you needed. Don’t leave their office without a CLEAR education plan.

At the very least, (if you are student 3) you should have all your classes planned for the coming semester and be ready to register when you walk out that door.

If you are student 2, you should have at minimum the next 2 semesters planned out, and you should always follow-up before your education plan ends.

If you are student 1, you should have all or nearly all your classes planned for your entire time in community college. You should have a clear map to take you from where you are now to your very clear goal!

Finally! If you drop a class or otherwise make a change that will affect your education plan, you must see your counselor and update your plan. Did you drop that math class last semester? Then you need to see your counselor and fit that class in another semester or in a summer or winter session.

In a worst case scenario, you might have to add another semester to your plan. This is why it’s really important to get the help you need so you don’t have to drop classes and potentially add semesters to your time in community college. I did a lot of that and it didn’t serve me well… it stretched my time in community college out from two years to four. I literally doubled my time in CC because I kept dropping classes and not seeing my counselor. Not fun.

Was this ED guide helpful? Let me know in the comments! What topic should I blog about next? What would help you?!

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2012 GradGuru Blog Year in Review

2012 has been a huge year for us! The GradGuru app is live and we are adding 50+ new schools for the Spring Semester! Want your school to be added to the GradGuru app? Comment below or Email unlock@gradguru.org!

I wanted to share with you our blogging year in review! We had over 2,000 views from 22 countries! Keep and eye out for more regular content from GradGuru! I’m going to aim for a blog each week about a new topic that will help you navigate community college and graduate faster!

Is there a particular topic you want me to blog about? How to get an appointment with a counselor? What’s an education plan and why do you need one? Financial Aid 101? Strategies for passing your math class?

Let me know in the COMMENTS!

Check out our year in summary by clicking the link below! See you next year!

https://gradguru.wordpress.com/2012/annual-report/

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Graduation Already!?

What the fluff am I talking about graduation in October? Well, believe it or not, the DEADLINE to file for a Spring graduation is right around the corner…and by right around the corner, I mean that for some colleges, the deadline to file is as early as this week.

This is super important, all my community college lovelies out there, get into your admissions and records office this week and find out what the deadline is for YOUR college. If you even suspect that you might have all the credits you need for your AA, AS or college Certificate, you’ve got to find out and file.

For those of you who aren’t sure or even if you know you aren’t close to graduating just yet, this is the perfect time to arrange a mid -semester meeting with your guidance counselor, or better yet, the admissions counselor for the school you’re hoping to transfer to (if transfer is your goal that is). I know it’s mid October and it’s the time of year for all of us students when you’re swamped with homework and running low on motivation. I know, I get it, trust me. However, it really is the best time to meet with your counselor and figure out where you are on your path to your educational goal. You can even talk about course planning for next semester!

The counseling offices are dead this time of year, there shouldn’t be a long wait to see your counselor and you can really get some good one-on-one time to talk about your future and the rest of the road you have to get where you want to be. This is something that I neglected to do during my time at community college and it definitely contributed to the reasons I was stuck in community college for twice as long as I wanted to be there. I can’t encourage you enough to get in to see your counselor and ask some questions!

Don’t know where you are or where to start with your counselor … Here’s some questions you can ask to help you get to your goal faster!

First: Make an appointment with your counselor … if possible ask to see a COUNSELOR and not an advisor. 

Counselor = YES

Advisor = NO

A whole blog post could be written to explain the difference between the two but here’s the short answer why you want to see a counselor… A college counselor is  a FULL TIME employee of the community college. They have their masters degree in college counseling and are in the know-how about how to meet your goals and the matriculation process.

An advisor is (in my opinion) a slightly misleading title. An adviser may be a part-time staff member, a faculty member with another job title who also attempts to advise students, an adjunct faculty member, etc. An advisor does NOT have to have a master’s degree in counseling and may not have received the proper training in matriculation, colleges requirement, course planning, etc.

INSIST THAT YOU SEE A COUNSELOR

Okay, enough of that… once you get an appointment to see a counselor, here’s some questions you might ask to get a clearer idea of where you are at, where you are going and how to get to where you want to be!

1. My goal is _______________________ (to transfer to a UC or State college/Get my AA degree/ Get my AS degree/Complete a Certificate program)…. how close am I? Can we look at my transcripts so far? Can you show me where I’m at? Am I ready to file for my degree or certificate?

2. If I’m not ready to file just yet, how close am I to reaching my goal? If I attend school full-time, how many more semester will I need to finish before I am ready to reach my goal? If I attend school part-time, how long will it take me then?

3. Can we do some course planning for the rest of my time at community college? Can I make an education plan? I need to see an exact path to graduation and reaching my goal.

4. So now that we have made (or updated) my education plan/path to graduation… when should I file for my degree? When should I start my 4-year college applications? Will I be ready to file next semester? Next year? What is the deadline that I need to pay attention to?

Following these questions should help you get a clearer picture of your path to your educational goal. One last thing, don’t be afraid to push for answers. Don’t be afraid to take the time your need with your counselor. Don’t be afraid to insist on seeing a counselor and not an advisor. YOU are paying to go to community college, YOU are working hard to get your degree, YOU deserve the proper help to meet your goal.

It’s the counselors JOB to help you, I hope you have a positive experience with your counselor but if you are feeling like you are being rushed, just take a breath and remember that you need questions answered and you deserve time and attention. If you feel like you aren’t having your questions answered, don’t be afraid to respectfully insist that you get a clear answer.

It’s your future and your responsibility to push for the help that you deserve.

To those of you who are ready to file for graduation,  CONGRATULATIONS! To those of you who aren’t quite there yet, GO GET EM’!

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The GradGuru app is ALIVE and KICKING (arse)!

Welcome back to school everyone!! It’s fall semester again, school is officially back in session and I hope everyone is doing well! I’m writing today to share some SUPER EPIC MEGA BIG NEWS!!!!

Our GradGuru app for the iPhone is now LIVE!!!

NEW: App just for Community College students that helps you graduate faster!

What’s GradGuru the app, you ask? We have created the first ever app to help guide community college students through the community college process and help you reach your educational goal! GradGuru is like your college advisor (or your mom) in your pocket. We have synced reminders for every academic calendar event for your college so you’ll never miss a deadline again!

How does it work?

Download the app, choose your college, you’re all set!

Once you download the app, you simply choose your college (or request your college if you don’t see it listed) and you are all set! The app will send you free push notifications and free reminders for EVERY upcoming deadline.

Once you’ve downloaded GradGuru, you don’t ever have to open the app again if you don’t want to! We bring the reminders and tips to succeed to YOU. Everything pops right up like a text message! No hassle! You DON’T have to constantly check the app to keep your deadlines straight.

What kind of deadlines, you ask? The kind that will help you graduate!!

We’ll remind you when the last day to drop a class is coming up … we’ll let you know when finals week is coming… we’ll help you stay on track so you don’t have to worry.

I’m a list of tips! I’ll help keep you motivated!

The app also has tons of useful information, tips for graduating faster, inspirational messages to keep you motivated, and proven practices of successful students.

So what if you don’t see your college? See that “Unlock” tab ? touch that and it will craft an email for you!

Don’t forget to put the name of your school!

Don’t forget to put the name of your school in the email! I am getting these emails every day and am adding more colleges every week!

Right now, the app is only for IPhone. We are currently raising money to build it on android (soon…very,very soon). How can you help? How considerate of you to ask! You can go to the GradGuru website and click the Android button. Then just fill out a (super short) form, really basic stuff, what phone you are using, your email (so we can email you as soon as we build it) etc. Or you can just click –> here <– and it will take you directly there! The more requests we have, the sooner we can build on android!

Bottom line: The app is awesome and its FREE. We created it just for you. We want you to succeed and we think having this app will help you do it! Click here to get GradGuru in the app store on your phone. Do it. Do it now!

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Need help navigating community college? There’s an app for that!

GradGuru for iPhone Gives Students the Information, Tips and Tricks They Need to Succeed.

We went live! Download and rate our app now!

San Francisco, California. August 20, 2012 – Inspired by its mission to increase completion rates among the United States’ 12 million community college students, GradGears released GradGuru today for Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch devices today. GradGuru is a free mobile application that guides and motivates community college students to take actions and engage in behaviors that have been proven to lead to higher and faster completion rates.

GradGuru for iPhone and iPod Touch helps students keep track of campus-specific deadlines; better understand the milestones they need to hit; learn what behaviors lead to academic success; tap existing student support and financial aid resources; and share these lessons with one another.

According to the American Association of Colleges and Universities, less than half of the 12 million students enrolled in a community college earn an A.A. degree or transfer to a four-year college within six years.  Those who complete at least an A.A. degree earn more than $500,000 more over their lifetimes; those who don’t are more likely to be relegated to a life of poverty.

“Students are busy with work and family. And navigating community college is complicated, especially for the 40% of students who are the first in their families to go to college. Seeing an advisor or counselor is increasingly difficult as enrollment grows and resources fall. GradGuru will fill a big part of the information gap, making it easier for students to keep track of deadlines, learn tips and tricks to stay in school, and finish faster,” said Catalina Ruiz-Healy, Founder of GradGears.

GradGuru is available on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gradguru-your-community-college/id552582336?mt=8&ls=1 . “Thanks to GradGuru, I have a better understanding of what to expect from college, how to ask for help, and most importantly, a lot more confidence that I CAN make it through,” said  City College of SF student Veronica Garcia.

GradGears is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, CA. Our mission is to increase and accelerate community college student success. GradGuru is being piloted on ten campuses in the Bay Area.  Students everywhere are able to receive GradGuru’s tips and tricks.

For more information, follow us at  http://gradguru.org.

 

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Which “Look” do you Like Best?

Hi! We’ve been busy building, building, building. And now we need your help.  Helps us choose your favorite screen!   Tells us which you prefer by voting below!!  Be sure to click on both icons… (the 2nd one doesn’t seem to like to show itself, but it’s there…

(Thanks!)

#1. Splash 1

#2. Splash 2. (Click on the little question mark… it’s hiding!)

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