On Tuesday, October 4, Beat the Streets held its first Life Skills Workshop of the season, starting with a class on college access. The new Life Skills Program offers workshops on a monthly basis throughout the school year. Student-athletes who want to earn a scholarship to a sleep-away Summer Camp or Junior Nationals in Fargo must attend a minimum of five workshops and successfully complete five hours of BTS volunteer service.
14 kids attended the College Access class being held by BTS Coaches Jacque Davis and Penn Gottfried and BTS Director of Programming Ken Bigley.
Bigley conducted a very detailed presentation on colleges, explaining the many different types -- for instance, for profit vs. not for profit, public vs. private, city vs. state -- as well as how to search for colleges based on criteria that mattered to the students. In doing so, he demonstrated several different search engines and an app. Bigley also showed the basics of filling out the FAFSA, searching for scholarships and grants, and lastly, showing them where to find SAT/ACT test dates, as well as how to apply for the tests.
The kids in attendance were receptive and had valuable input to share with the coaches, asking and answering meaningful questions. Some impressed with the sheer amount that they already knew!
“I am very happy that the kids had this opportunity to sit in on this class,” said BTS head girls coach Jacque Davis. “Even though it is a daunting topic, they each appeared to get something out of it and looked more confident exiting the course than coming in.”
“I was really impressed with the level of engagement of the student-athletes,” said Ken Bigley, who led the class. He noted that the kids were especially interested in the discussion surrounding financial aid, FAFSA, and loan repayment. “I think it really struck home with the BTS wrestlers that there are a lot of great college options locally in NYC, and that college is accessible.” The difference between manageable and overwhelming debt was made clear when they discussed various loan repayment scenarios.
Overall, the students left better equipped to handle finding and paying for college. “The students left the workshop with an enhanced tool set in not only trying to find a college that is the right fit for them, but also important financial questions to ask during the decision-making process.”
“The kids seemed to realize the importance of the whole college process, as they were engaged and active during the presentation,” said coach Penn Gottfried. He also noted that it was impressive to see kids of all ages in attendance and planning ahead. “I think the importance of BTS, much bigger than wrestling, is the ability for us to give kids the opportunity to see where their future can be. This class is the perfect intro course for having kids start to think about their future.”