Note from Our Founders: We're Launching Our Online Student Resource Guides!
November 03, 2020
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We’re excited to announce that over the next few months, BestFit will be launching a series of online guides specifically designed to help students navigate college life during an ongoing global pandemic.
For students using BestFit, many of the frustrations around college life have little to do with coursework itself, but with all the other factors surrounding coursework: How do I fit in my classes or office hours between work? How do I take care of my parents/children while being a successful student? How do I do virtual learning if I don’t have stable Internet, a working laptop, or even just headphones that don’t break? How do I ask for help with food and/or mental health support without feeling judged?
COVID-19 has not only created a lot more non-academic issues for college students but also forced us to redefine what it takes to be a “successful college student.” Here are some of our learnings in the last 6 months:
  1. Social capital‒having the network and relationships to know where and how to get help‒has become more important than ever.
    When colleges started closing campuses in March, we saw the growing disparities between students who could depend on their home and families for their everyday needs and those who couldn’t (ex: homeless/foster care and international students, etc.). With many colleges still virtual or hybrid, being successful at college is going to be less about just doing the work, but making sure you have the resources and support system in place to be able to do so.
  2. Simply putting more information online isn’t enough.
    When we were helping students get connected to the resources they needed, we (as women of color with 4 post-secondary degrees) were overwhelmed by how much information there was online on different types of resources. By how annoying it was to sort through multiple resource lists just to find out that the specific resource no longer existed. By how alienating it was to sieve through learn that a lot of resources didn’t apply to college students. By how demoralizing it was to fill out multiple forms to “perform your poverty” and prove you deserved help. This has influenced our shift towards “information equity” instead of simply “information access.”
  3. Student problems often overlap, yet the solutions are all over the place.
    From our conversations with students, we’ve found that students needing one type of resource (ex: financial assistance) are also more likely to need other types of resources (ex: support with groceries, transportation, etc.), but it seems like the Internet makes it as difficult as possible to find these different resources. Due to the lack of time and frustrating experience, students end up giving up or assuming they don’t qualify for certain resources.
  4. Off-campus resources can be a valuable source of support.
    In Atlanta where we’re based, college campuses closed in late-March, and many on-campus services such as food pantries closed along with them. While things are reopening now, we believe looking both on and off-campus for help will be the most effective way to get help in the near future.
What Should You Expect?
Over the next few months, we’re committed to providing high-quality support to students through our free resource portal and this series of guides on how to make the most of existing resources (ex: basic needs, healthcare, mental health, other financial assistance) as a college student.
Here are some of our promises to our readers regarding our content:
  • We center the voices of real students
    Each post will be written by college students, either within our team or guest writers. We’ll take into account the fact that there is no longer such a thing as a “traditional” college student, and bring in different identities and experiences to the advice we give.
  • We tell it like it is
    As former “underrepresented” college students, we wish we had someone to just be totally honest and real with us about what challenges lay ahead. We’ll layout as many challenges to expect as possible, but also provide thoughtful solutions.
  • We focus on action
    We’ve browsed too many guides with vague or abstract advice. We’ll focus on actual steps to take, questions to ask, and important numbers to call.
  • We take an inclusive, holistic approach
    We’ll be covering different types of resources we think students should know about‒from making the most of social services if you’re eligible, to navigating mental health or off-campus resources.
Our First Series
In our first series, our intern and current gap-year student Sean Cheng takes us through a 3-part journey on how to apply for SNAP as a college student in Georgia, where we’re based.
Are you ready?
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