This is a special year for our family. We have a high school senior, and it has been a heady time of trying to record and take pictures of all the “last time to do this” events on our list. It is also an exciting time because just around the corner is the future that holds many possibilities, one of which we hope includes going to college.
Visiting different college campuses and making new connections have all been part of this exciting process as my senior decides where to spend the next four years. While my family has thoroughly enjoyed and enthusiastically participated in these events, some other aspects of higher education have not elicited as much enthusiasm. One activity in particular that we have all been dreading are the personal essays.
College applications often require personal statements and essays, which are a wonderful way for a prospective student to express their goals and ambitions and to lay out their plans for their future. However, many parents who guide their senior through this process may quickly realize that this is where you and your senior stop being friends. Our family is navigating this space where you want to encourage your senior as they eloquently lay out their future plans, while at the same time ensuring the grammar is consistent and avoiding arguments over how the dash and the colon are the same thing. At this juncture, let me tell you that help is available to you through the Ames Public Library. I’m talking about Brainfuse HelpNow, one of over 61 databases that the library subscribes to and offers you access to as part of your library account.
Brainfuse HelpNow is a virtual learning platform that offers a variety of study materials including online live tutoring and writing help for students and adult learners. Access to the site is through your APL card. There are two parts to using this database, the initial login is through the APL website using your library card and password/pin. Once you are directed to the Brainfuse site, some features of the platform are readily available for use. However, certain services, including the Writing Lab, do require an account to be created with Brainfuse.
To create this account, the site asks for a user name and a password to be set up. No email or any personal data is required or requested. In certain situations, you may want to give more information. For example, if the chat transcript from a tutoring session is requested, an email address to send the transcript will be needed. At the Writing Lab, you can submit a written piece for review and within 24 hours you will receive a response with suggestions on improvements from one of their expert tutors. The site accepts different file formats, so please check on the site for the most updated information. The login and account setup process is pretty straightforward, but if you would like help, staff at APL are always happy to assist. While you are at the Brainfuse site, I encourage you to take a look around at other resources here, including information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
As I sign off, if your family like mine is looking ahead to exciting new beginnings, I wish you and your senior the very best. As Nietzsche eloquently put it, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger,” and with help from the library and databases like Brainfuse HelpNow I hope your experience with the college admission process will be smooth, quick and felicitous.