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How Playlists Help College Hopefuls, Overwhelmed Advisers

10/16/2013

Pretty much every teenager—and her parents—needs help with the college admissions process. Which schools would be a reach, and which would be a safe bet? Should she study before taking the SAT, and if so, how much? What financial aid might she be eligible for? What kind of essay topic would move her to the top of admissions pile?

Students often answer these questions with the help of online information, from The Princeton Review's college recruiter quiz to College Confidential's student message boards. But teens who are the first in their families to apply to college often don't even know what questions to ask, says Gerry Oxx, a veteran high school counselor at Hector Godinez Fundamental High School in Santa Ana, Calif. At Godinez, 97 percent of students are Latino, 84 percent are low-income, and most parents have a high school education or less. Although Oxx coaches small groups of students through the college process each year, with a caseload of 500, he's spread thin.

Oxx was thrilled to learn of Mytonomy, a Chevy Chase, Md.-based startup that's building something like YouTube for the high school-to-college transition. The company—which takes its name from the word "autonomy"— has assembled an online library of more than 2,800 advice videos and written content created by high school counselors, their star pupils and other role models. There's an emphasis on underserved minority voices, and many videos are in Spanish.

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