Calling all college-bound students. Fort Bend County Libraries is set to host programs to help students and their families prepare for college.
From Jan. 12-26, county libraries are offering a full schedule of seminars ranging from “How to Choose and Pay for College,” where students will learn how to prepare a competitive college application, to “FAFSA 101,” which helps families gain a better understanding of the financial aid process.
The programs are designed to provide information and resources to help youth have successful college experiences.
The county is also offering opportunities to encourage young adults to be active participants in designing and organizing new activities for teens in the library system.
The Defender spoke with Sandy Johnson, marketing and communications manager for Fort Bend County Libraries, to find out what students and families can look forward to in the coming weeks.
Defender: What is the Fort Bend County Libraries’ goal for youth?
Sandy Johnson: We try to plan programs and activities that encourage teens to continue to engage in the library for lifelong learning. Libraries are more than just books – they are places for people to gather and exchange ideas and feel connected.
Defender: Is this the first time the district library system is hosting this? If not, how many people have attended in the past?
Johnson: We have had programs on completing the FAFSA application in the past, and they are always very well attended. I would recommend coming early to get a seat. Kathy Rose is presenting the program on “How to Choose & Pay for College” – she is a repeat presenter for us and always does a great job. Again, I would recommend arriving early since seating is limited.
We have the Young Adult Advisory Council meetings on a monthly basis, as well as the Young Adult Book Clubs. The activities [crafts, games, etc.] take place every month, but the topics may vary. The Young Adult Advisory Councils are a great way for students in grades 9-12 to earn volunteer-service hours, and the teens offer excellent insight into activities that they would like to see in our libraries.
Defender: Can families from other counties take advantage of this?
Johnson: Yes, Fort Bend County Libraries is a public library system, and everyone is welcome to attend, regardless of county of residence. There is never a charge for library programs or services. A library card [also free for all Texans] is not required to attend programs.
Defender: College and student debt is a hot button topic. Will the program introduce strategies for parents to secure grants and scholarships if loans aren’t what they want for their child?
Johnson: In the program “How to Choose & Pay for College,” Kathy Rose will touch upon different options that families and students can explore for financial assistance, including grants and scholarships. This will be an overview of options, however, providing direction for families to explore on their own. George Memorial Library in Richmond will have a program on Feb. 9 called “Funding Your Future: Scholarships & Grants,” which will provide more detail on these options.
Defender: Does the teen program provide mentorship or career advice on understanding college majors and which ones provide lucrative career paths?
Johnson: Other than the regularly scheduled book clubs and YA Advisory Council meetings, the YA programs that our libraries present are on a variety of topics. In December, our Sienna Branch Library had a YA program on “Mock Interviews.” In the past, Fort Bend County Libraries has had college fairs and programs highlighting different career options.
FORT BEND COUNTY LIBRARIES – TEEN PROGRAMS
– University Branch Library – Thursday, Jan. 12, 4-5 p.m., Conference Room 1.
– George Memorial Library (Richmond) – Wednesday, Jan. 18, 4-5 p.m., Room 2C.
– Cinco Ranch Branch Library – Wednesday, Jan. 18, 4-5 p.m., Conference Room.
– Missouri City Branch Library – Tuesday, Jan. 24, 4-5 p.m., Conference Room.
– Sienna Branch Library – Thursday, Jan. 26, 4-5 p.m.