NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Two Metro Nashville College Access Teachers created an interactive road map app for the college application process called College Leaps in an effort to help high school students understand the application process and not miss any deadlines.
The idea came to two teachers when they both worked at McGavock High School in Nashville.
"We were planning lessons," explained Angie Allen, Martha O’Brien Center high school and post secondary senior director. "We said, 'What if we did that, because we already have like the steps in our head, and we've already had them in our class and tuck them in our class. So what if we created an app because they're always on their phones.'"
For more than a decade the duo focused solely on college readiness.
"We're actively in schools helping prepare students for post-secondary success," said McGavock High School Dean of Instruction Laura Vignon. "[But] there's not one place to go that says exactly what it is, how to do it, you have to go to at least 26 different websites, you have all the books that you have to look for."
Allen and Vignon said even for students whose parents were college graduates, the process is unrecognizable.
"If you don't have a parent, who knows, and honestly, even if you have a parent that knows, it's changed. It's very digital, there's a lot of things online. So basically giving students opportunity to have someplace to go that tells them what to do and what to do next, instead of just hearing it in the hallway or hearing it from a teacher," explained Vignon.
The app is not meant to take the place of a college counselor, but rather help educate students on the application process and send them reminders to keep them on track.
"School counselors, you know, have been tasked with this for a long time like, and their jobs have changed a lot," Allen said. "They have a lot more other things that they had to focus on. But also the national average is 360 students to one counselor."
The College Leaps founders said some of the app is dedicated to helping high school students just understand the college application lingo.
"We have access to just teaching them the process of understanding of vocabulary events, because you know, you're gonna if they did meet with a counselor, and the counselor is like, 'You need to do your FAFSA by this date. They're like, What's the FAFSA?'" stated Allen. "Yeah, you know, so, so some of that education and in just the language of college and what that looks like."
The app hosts content for every high schooler.
"If you start using it your freshman year. and things are gonna change wildly by your senior year," explained Vignon of the ever-changing application world. "So it's something that we're always doing as we get new information, we're actively updating the app."
Keeping the information up to date is the founder's specialty after more than a decade of helping students navigate the process.
"College Leaps provides answers to a lot of the questions that they would be asking the counselors," said Allen. "It's not that they're never going to need to talk to anyone. But it does provide like a good framework for all the things that need to be at least asking about if so they know what to ask."
To learn more about the app and for the link to download it, visit their website.