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Operation F.A.M.

Academic Guidance

Academic Guidance is all initiatives taken -both at the central and at the ‘local’ level- in order to support minds to fulfill their different roles throughout their academic career. Because there aren’t enough educational resources and guidance openly available to assist those from urban communities who want to succeed in obtaining higher education; our program will provide the necessary tools to make better choices in everything from choosing a school, to how to minimize loan amounts & payments. The objectives of Operation F.A.M.’s Academic Guidance Workshops are to help students achieve their full academic potential regardless of their circumstances.

Operation F.A.M. will offer 10 workshops on Academic Guidance that are challenging and appealing to youth and young adults from urban communities. Each of these workshops will be interactive and held in classroom sessions, where the presenter will go over key points through a PowerPoint presentation. There will be other props to the workshop such as surveys, role playing, and critiquing in these sessions.

Below is the list and descriptions of Operation F.A.M.’s 10 Academic Guidance programs:






Choosing a College & Major 
Operation F.A.M.The college search doesn't have to begin and end with the Ivy Leagues and the popular schools. There are many schools out there to choose from — some known and some less known, all worthy of your attention. Although there's no magic formula for choosing a college, you can start by asking yourself some questions that help most students find the right fit. Our workshop will offer some advice for trying to find the school that works best for attendees.

This workshop will go over:
  • Who are you and why you are going to college?
  • What is most important to you when choosing a school?
  • Figuring out does size matters (school, class, teacher student ratios)?
  • Figuring out if a big name matters?
  • Can you afford to attend?
  • Researching what programs the university offers?
  • What is the campus culture & will you fit in?
  • What are your interests/career goals and are there majors that align with them available at this school?
  • What type of education/schooling do those who are where you want to be professionally have?
  • What is the average starting and peak salaries for your degree in your selected field compared to the student loans that you will attain to get it?
How to Study 
Operation F.A.M.Discover proven ways to study harder and smarter. Learn how you can create a detailed study plan, maximize the time you spend studying, take meaningful notes, and save time when preparing for exams—all while keeping stress levels low and grades high. This workshop is designed to help you develop the skills necessary for success in your academic courses. You will learn strategies for note-taking, reading efficiently and studying according to your learning style. These are important skills that will help you in school and in the workplace later.

In this workshop, we will cover:
  • Understanding that Studying is Not the Same as Doing Homework
  • Creating a Study Plan
  • Managing Your Time
  • Taking Effective/Efficient Notes
  • Reading Text Slowly Before and After Class
  • Studying Smart Before Exams
  • Using Test-Taking Strategies on Exam Day
  • Maintaining Your Studies
  • Managing Your Stress
  • Exercising Your Brain for Optimal Memory Training
  • Other Study Tips
Understanding FAFSA 
Operation F.A.M.Earning a college education is one of the best investments in your future. Today, college students and their families face a “perfect storm” – college tuition is climbing, the economy is weakening, and credit is tightening. Figuring out how to pay for a college education is more challenging than ever before. But one thing hasn’t changed, filling out the government’s aid form is still complicated and time consuming. Sometimes the toughest part of the financial aid process is getting started. You and your family have a number of financial aid options to take advantage of—you just need to know how to begin.

All college students are expected to contribute towards their education costs. How much you and your family will be expected to contribute depends on your financial situation — and is what’s called your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).  The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form the U.S. Department of Education (ED) requires to determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The government conducts a “need analysis” based on financial information, such as income, assets, and other family information, which you and your parents (if you are a dependent student) will be asked to provide.

Your application is examined by a federal processor and the results are sent by computer to the financial aid offices of the colleges you’ve chosen. The FAFSA is the application most colleges use to determine eligibility for federal, state, and college-sponsored financial aid, including grants, educational loans, and work-study programs.


In this workshop, we will cover:
  • Knowing what you need to accomplish—and by when—with this financial aid timeline.
  • Understanding the differences between loans, grants and scholarships
  • Filling out the FAFSA
  • Family Contribution and what does it mean
  • Knowing the cost & understanding your future payments
Student Loans 
Operation F.A.M.Student loans are similar to other loans; in that you borrow money from a lender and promise that you’ll repay it, with interest. But the terms of student loans differ in one key respect. In other loans, the borrower is expected to begin paying the loan off in installments as soon as the money is distributed. In the case of a student loan, which is made to someone not earning money full-time, the borrower/student is usually not expected to begin repaying the loan until after his/her education is over.  

It’s easy to have a relaxed attitude toward student loan debt since so many people accrue it. But today the burden of student loans is reaching such a crisis point that people are questioning whether we are in a college bubble; in which college is overhyped and overvalued, burdening former students with high debts that offer little return for the investment. Understanding which student loans you qualify for, which fits your budget and needs, who will give them to you, and how to get them can be a challenge.

As a result, this workshop will cover:
  • Types of Student loans
  • Key Industry Players in the Student Loan Industry
  • Keeping Track of Student loans
  • Being a wise borrower
  • Military & Overseas Borrowers
  • Medical & Legal Student Borrowers
  • Parents of Student Borrowers
  • Financial Aid Resources
  • Interest Rates
  • Consolidation
  • Understanding Payments, Forbearance, Deferment, and Defaulting
Types of Loan Forgiveness & Repayment Plans 
Operation F.A.M.Under certain circumstances, the federal government will cancel all or part of an educational loan. This practice is called Loan Forgiveness. The Federal student loan repayment program permits agencies to repay federally insured student loans as a recruitment or retention incentive for candidates or current employees of the agency. Many are in fields or qualify in other ways to decrease or eventually cancel their student loan payments. Our workshop will give education on finding out what are options for those with student loans.

In this workshop we will cover:
  • Finding out how much do I owe in student loans
  • Difference between Loan Forgiveness & Repayment Plans
  • Types of Loan Forgiveness Programs
  • Majors/Careers to go into to get loan forgiveness & qualify for repayment plans
  • What do you need to do to qualify for loan forgiveness
  • Types of Repayment Plans
  • Calculating savings from loan forgiveness
  • How to apply for loan forgiveness


Time Management 
Operation F.A.M.Our time management training workshop shows powerful time management techniques and strategies that anyone can use every day of their lives. The workshop will help discover clever, easy-to-use, time saving techniques and strategies to enable students to be more productive every day and have time to relax, too. Students will learn the most effective, practical time management techniques ever devised to help them deal with too much to do, and not enough time to get it all done. We will even show you how to have time to take lots of breaks and not feel guilty. In this workshop students will learn time management strategies to increase their productivity without working harder or longer. Students will also learn how to focus on high-payoff activities and eliminate time-wasting behavior and procrastination.

This time management training will show you how to:
  • Stay organized and focused to get more done with less effort
  • Overcome procrastination and get yourself motivated to do difficult or unpleasant work
  • Deal with interruptions that sidetrack you and break your focus
  • Go on an interruption diet with your team so you can get more work done
  • Meet tight deadlines with time to spare
  • Apply time management strategies when everything is top priority
  • Organize your workspace to be more productive
  • Handle e-mail and information overload
  • Stay focused and get the right things done at the right time
  • Discover time-management tricks to make life easier for everyone
  • Finish your to-do list every day and get a sense of completion
  • Balance your personal and professional life
How to Redefine Yourself 
Operation F.A.M.Were you a high school/college athlete? Popular? Not serious about the future or life and now you are getting older and more mature so it is time to get on track? Although years spent in college are famously known as “the best years of your life,” college also brings many obstacles to face along the way. Not to say that the obstacles are bound to be negative, but whatever it is that comes your way will undoubtedly be a stepping-stone for your growth.  Many students tend to get “lost” throughout this so-called journey of “finding ourselves.” The term “lost” is used in this context to mean something such as confused, unknowing, or even out of place. This journey as we may know it includes obstacles that pertain to academics, family matters, romantic relationships, friendships, social life, or any other aspect of an individual’s life that consumes a portion of their world.

This workshop will cover:
  • Defining yourself
  • Figuring out who you want to be
  • Learning how to get there
  • Creating your own life timeline
  • Understanding your “Network is your Net Worth” –Finding Mentors & like-minded peers
  • Taking risks and building confidence
Overcoming Obstacles While in School 
Operation F.A.M.Nobody plunks down thousands of dollars in college tuition hoping to fail. Yet as the school year begins, many college students are going to face hurdles that will slow them down or stop them altogether. Some students' lack of academic preparation, poor study habits and overactive social lives may lead to their undoing. Others will find themselves in courses in which a third -- or more -- of the class fails or quits. To help students succeed, many colleges are offering more first-year programs and academic help. Some are even redesigning courses to make them more effective. In this workshop we will examine some of the obstacles in college; and what both students and schools can do to overcome them. The obstacles can be so discouraging that, if the current pattern continues, 1 in 3 of today's freshmen won't have earned a bachelor's degree from any four-year school 8.5 years from now, according to federal data.

In this workshop we will cover:
  • How to understand and accept your obstacles
  • How to get back to regular life
  • Staying focused on the positives, instead of the negatives
  • Finding support during hard times
  • Finding motivation to never give up
  • Understanding pushing back goals a little is okay, quitting is not
  • Challenging yourself and try new things every day
  • Finding things that make you happy
  • Staying away from comparing yourself to others
  • Finding time to celebrate small accomplishments
College Isn’t For You? Looking into Lucrative Careers without a Degree 
Operation F.A.M.It may not be a piece of cake, but despite stagnant wages for the majority of U.S. workers, making a six-figure salary without earning a college degree can be achieved. College isn't for everyone. Sure, earning a degree will improve your income potential, but skyrocketing tuition costs are a deterrent for some. Others choose not to continue their schooling for a host of reasons, from family obligations to a desire to start collecting a full-time paycheck.

You can still find a good job without a college degree. According to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, 44 percent of high school graduates make better money than college grads. It's just a matter of picking the right career field. To identify the 10 best jobs you can get without a college degree, we focused on two critical factors: salary and job growth. We started with the more than 300 professions that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies as requiring only a high-school diploma or post-secondary non-degree (typically awarded by a trade school or vocational training program). We trimmed the list by filtering for jobs with annual salaries well over the national median of $41,444 and projected long-term growth rates above the average of 14 percent. It is okay if you do not plan to go to college.  However, if you do decide not to go to college; you must understand the lucrative career opportunities that are available that you can take advantage of to make a comparable salary as a college graduate.

In this workshop we will discuss:

  • Finding out lucrative career options that are available
  • Researching if a special license or certification is needed
  • Do you have to work your way up to get a large salary?
  • How much security is in your chosen field?
  • Will there be dramatic changes in the field during your career and can you keep up?
  • How to become an entrepreneur and if you can do it on your own?

What to research before changing your major
Operation F.A.M.College students face a wide variety of options when selecting a major? If you are considering pursuing any degree, there are some important factors you should consider. Asking yourself these questions can help you determine what career is best suited to your lifestyle, personality, and professional goals. Changing majors in college is very common. Most students go into college thinking that they are interested in one subject but once they start taking classes, they realize that they no longer want to study that area. Also, many students interests change and they begin to want to study another subject. Wanting to change your major is not usually something to worry about.

In this workshop we will help students answer the following questions:
  • What do I want to do with my life?
  • Do I really want to change majors?
  • What are my motivations for changing majors?
  • What are the requirements to complete my dream major?
  • How will changing majors affect my ability to graduate on time?
  • Would changing majors mean that I need to change schools?
  • Could you declare a minor or double major instead of changing majors?
  • What do I need to do to enter this major?
  • How much will this change cost (time and money wise)?
  • Will switching majors impact my financial aid?