Will you be the first person in your family to pursue higher education through a certification, vocational training or a two- or four-year college degree? Are you a high school senior ready to apply to college, in New Mexico or elsewhere, and you’re seeking help with the various steps in the process? Perhaps you’re a younger high school student eager to understand what the college application and financial aid process will entail, so that you can take proactive steps to embark on the process with the awareness necessary to achieve your goals.
Or, have you passed your High School Equivalency (the GED or HiSET) and you want to create a game plan for what you want to do next? What if it’s been a while since you were a student and you want to go to college, learn a new skill or vocation, or you hope to make a career change? No matter if you are younger or older, whatever your circumstances, previous learning experiences and your goals for education and career, Bridges can help support you on your own particular path.
Bridges Project for Education (Bridges) will celebrate our 20th anniversary this year. Since 1997, we have helped 2,600 students and their families work through the college application and financial aid process in Taos County and Northern New Mexico. We provide free, individualized and comprehensive counseling to students of all ages. This is the heart of our work, because we understand what a complicated and even daunting process applying to schools and finding financial aid can be. We know, we’ve been there, too.
We want to help you achieve your dreams, since we believe that when individuals succeed in achieving their goals, then their own life, that of their family and their community will all benefit. Education is one way in which people can create the life they want to live, whether that means learning a trade; increasing their understanding of a particular subject, themselves and the world; gathering the knowledge and tools to enter into a career or profession; or moving into a higher level of qualifications, with new opportunities for increased income and benefits.
How can Bridges help? Our goal is to help you find the best college for your needs, goals and finances. We can assist you in working through the key components of the application process, which can include learning about college admissions requirements; developing a customized action plan with deadlines for key points in the process; creating a list of colleges or vocational schools matching your needs, goals, finances and eligibility; working on and completing college applications; and then deciding on the best school to attend.
But how can you afford to pay college tuition and expenses? Many of our clients are eligible for Federal financial aid, some New Mexico grants or scholarships — including the Lottery Scholarship — and even regional or local scholarships. You may be able to obtain different kinds of financial aid. Bridges can help you obtain money for college, based on your eligibility, by: working with you to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid); identifying potential scholarships, filling out and submitting applications; completing school financial aid forms; and then analyzing and comparing the financial aid packages that the school(s) where you have been accepted offer you.
What does working with Bridges look like? The first step is to call us at (575) 758.5074 or email us at email@example.com to schedule an appointment. All appointments are held in our office at 112A Alexander Street in Taos. During your initial appointment, one of our college counselors will complete an intake of your background, needs and goals. Together, you and your counselor will create an action plan to make sure that you are on track to achieve your goals. Counseling appointments can last from a half hour to an hour. And remember, our services are free. To learn more about Bridges and the college application and financial aid processes, visit our web site bridgesproject.org and like Bridges Project on Facebook.
Education is not the only way to live the best life for your needs and aspirations, but if it’s the path for you, Bridges has a road map, knowledgeable college counselors and a plan to help you arrive at your destination.
Mackenzi Frederick is a college counselor and development coordinator for Bridges Project for Education.