Skip to main content

Reimagining the Road to Education: A New Project

By: TxCAN   |   September 2021

Learn about the interactive project by Bellwether Education, which aims to illuminate how young people must sometimes navigate college access alone.

In a striking web-project, “Reimagining the Road to Education,” Bellwether Education tells the story of college access. The cornerstone of the project is student perspectives. Five unique students -- Mel, Anna, Xavier, Frankie, and Alejandro -- share their stories as they attempt to navigate the college access landscape.

The students, who represent the perspectives of the forty children and forty adults who Bellwether Education surveyed for the project, range in ages between their junior year of high school and their second year in college. Each student faces challenges related to demanding schoolwork, college decisions, financial hardship, and social isolation. By presenting a range of possible college access experiences, Bellwether gives project viewers the chance to become more knowledgeable about young people at a very difficult time in their lives. Although the students themselves are not real people, they represent very real situations.

Bellwether goes further than just highlighting challenges students face. They also discuss the difficulty that adults -- counselors and college access organizations, K-12 staff, higher education staff, employers, community-based organizations, policymakers, funders, intermediaries, families, and peers -- manage in trying to support students. Based on the data they collected, Bellwether suggests small shifts that may ease some of the burdens of parents and adults working in college access.

For example, from interviews with counselors and college access organizations, Bellwether identified three common problems: insufficient time, limited access to student data, and generic resources. One solution they suggest is that counselors focus their work on building relationships with students, as it would allow for more personalization of the college application process.

In fact, relationship-building and “listening” is at the core of most of Bellwether’s recommendations for adults and organizations -- not just relationship-building with students, but also with each other. With this project, Bellwether embodies the practices they recommend by centering data-based, engaging storytelling, and this is an excellent place to start for anyone looking to find out more about college access.

Bellweather’s Reimagining the Road to Education: A New Project

The Texas College Access Network (TxCAN) connects and supports college access initiatives across Texas, with the goal of increasing access to college and certificate programs.