Future Focus

Mar 19, 2024 | ChangeMaker Projects 2024

Team Name: Purple Bytes

Project Title: Future Focus

Project Type: Website

Project Link: https://replit.com/@Gaelle-V/Future-Focus

Video Link: https://youtu.be/h3v0sluDRUY?si=7ASddTiDQT2La6Vy

Write Up: 

         Our team, the Purple Bytes, created “Future Focus”  to address the lack of resources and guidance for first-generation, low-income students (FGLI) about college readiness. For generations, education was thought to have been the “great equalizer” in American society. However, today, this notion holds less weight as family income becomes the main determinant of whether someone goes to college. Students from high-income families are 38% more likely to attend college than those from low-income families (Bookings.edu, 2023). This is because FGLI students are more likely to go to underfunded high schools in low-income neighborhoods with fewer college access resources, leaving them alone to navigate the complex process of applying for college and financial aid. In contrast, higher-income students receive private guidance, coaching, and tutoring for standardized testing (performance is strongly correlated to income). 

In our community, around 54.6% of students are economically disadvantaged (US News & World Report), underscoring the urgent need to address this issue as students in Miami face economic challenges that prevent them from going to college. Additionally, a college degree serves as a stepping stone towards social mobility through access to better-paying jobs and personal growth. If we, as a community, hope to see tomorrow’s generation better educated, then we must make college accessible to all.

Our website contains all the essential information needed for FGLI students to know about and succeed in the college/financial aid application process. We first want students to navigate through the education section to learn about the different high schools and curricula in Miami. They’ll also learn about the different routes to higher education. Then we go through extracurriculars, writing, and testing, all of which are important components of the college application process. Our website offers FGLI students tips and resources to enhance these aspects of their college application, with most of the resources being locally based here in Miami, like extracurricular (volunteering) opportunities, test prep resources, and tips to improve writing.

These students face many obstacles, from financial restraint to a lack of a “college-going” attitude both at home and in school. Our website aims to target this issue by providing an in-depth guide to success in high school and their higher educational pursuits. Our incorporation of interactive features like the magnet school gallery and important vocabulary will benefit FGLI students who have no other way to get this information, as well as empower them to explore more through the many links we provide.

Our website directly addresses the challenge of limited college access for low-income students by providing up-to-date insights into the college application process. We highlight crucial information, such as changes in financial aid terminology and the shift to digital SAT formats. Real stories from local FGLI students offer valuable feedback on successful programs and application strategies. Looking ahead, we aim to incorporate interactive elements like quizzes, which enhance user engagement and knowledge retention. We hope to expand support for FGLI students navigating on-campus college experiences, fostering educational equity within our community.

Through working with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Bootstrap, we enhanced and learned more about coding. While we had varying levels of programming ability, we were able to rely on each other. If one person couldn’t align pictures within paragraphs or in accordions, the other was able to figure it out and show the other how to code it into the website. Our time management skills were put to the test as we often had to split the workload among ourselves over multiple days.

The toughest part of building our website was the research and design phase. Crafting the design, including color schemes and wireframes, proved challenging due to content-gathering issues. We scoured platforms like Scoir and Collegevine and sought guidance from our school’s counselor, as there was a ton of information to add, so we highlighted important aspects and linked additional resources for students. We discussed ways to display the information we gathered in a user-friendly way. One of the ways was through the use of accordion lists; however, they initially posed problems, but CSS modifications addressed the issue. Turning our design into code, especially in the “Our Team” section, presented hurdles. We initially aimed for an active scrolling feature, but we had to settle for a horizontal card scroll. Despite the challenges, the most satisfying part was the innovative and unique “Our Team” section, a testament to our team’s perseverance for a modern, minimalist appeal. Last but not least, the opportunity to work with young female coders was transformational.

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