Let’s create college-going solutions, together.

How might we create programs, processes, and tools to provide ongoing support to all students on their journey to and through college? #reachwayhigher

Today a high school diploma is not enough. That’s why we’re partnering with Reach Higher and Better Make Room, initiatives out of the office of The First Lady, to invite educators from across the country to design new college-ready solutions for students today.

Together, we’ve invited in college access organizations and design and technology companies who will join us in supporting educators as designers, and who are committed to bringing new and better solutions to life.

Meet our partners below! Members from each organization submitted one photo from their days in college and shared their reflections on what it felt like to be a college student, making that scary leap from high school to postsecondary institutions. You can connect with them in The Teachers Guild community, too!

And, we’d love to hear from you! Share a photo of YOU from college + one thing you would redesign from your college experience with us @teachersguild #reachwayhigher or in our comment section below.

One Workplace

Chris Good, Creative Director

“I grew up in a family where I was the first to go away to college. Leaving home was really difficult for my mother. So, I grudgingly accepted the idea of being a commuter student my first semester. The upside was that I was able to continue working weekends to help pay tuition and books. The downside was that I completely missed out on making social connections with the many other students in that year’s freshman class. The result was that I was an outsider, something very difficult to overcome over the course of the next several school years — even after finally moving on-campus.”

Trevor Croghan, Director, Learning Environments

“In order to pay tuition after my football scholarship had run its course, I had to take on a significant amount of student loans. My family placed emphasis on achieving an advanced degree, but did not have the financial abilities to assist with paying for it. The debt I assumed during this period of time was a real challenge to pay off when I left school and entered the teaching profession.”

Blue Engine

Nick Ehrmann, CEO and Founder

“I wish I had known that that not knowing what I wanted to do in life was more than OK before entering college.”

Google for Education

Tom Sayer, Program Manager

“I wonder what might be created to help students make the transition from high school to college with more perspective, insight, and awareness.”

College Possible

Bethany Krueger, National Director of Programs

“Writing centers and other resources like it on college campuses were wonderful amenities for me in college. But using them doesn’t mean that students are incompetent or lack smarts. In college, I knew this deep down, but on the surface sometimes allowed myself to be convinced otherwise!”

Traci Kirtley, Chief Program Officer

“One of my favorite things about college — Hanging out with my roommate — meeting and getting to know her was one of the best things I got from my college years!”

Goldhmong Vang, College Coach

“This topic is extremely important to me because as a first-generation student, I didn’t have much guidance with the college application process or college life from family. If it wasn’t for the college prep and success program in high school, I would have been in a worse situation. As a low-income student entering a prestigious school, I don’t think I would have been able to succeed if it weren’t for the support group that I was lucky enough to be able to create. I was one of the lucky ones, but I watched so many others forced to leave school.”


Gabe Kleinman, Special Projects

“One challenge I faced in college was discovering what I wanted to do with my life. I positively struggle with it to this day. Imagine trying to wrestle with the notion of figuring out ‘life’ as a high schooler…”

College Advising Corps

Nicole Hurd, CEO and Founder

“I grew up in California, so moving to South Bend, IN for college was a huge culture shock. I had never lived in the snow or spent months away from my family. I was fortunate to find a great group of friends to support me, but it was hard to be the “big sister” and the first one of my siblings to leave home.”

Andrew Meriwether, Advisor

“ If I could redesign anything about the college journey, I would want the application and financial aid process to be streamlined so that a student could do everything on one comprehensive platform. This platform would be a college access hub, where students could research colleges, receive essential information, apply to schools, and file their FAFSA and CSS Profile.”


Chase Schults, Technical Architect

“I chose to be very independent during college and needed to work a couple of jobs to make ends meet while I was enrolled in 18 credit units of school.”

Better Make Room Campaign

Don Yu, Director

“Helping students develop certain character traits may be as or more important than traditional academic traits. I’d love to hear more about how teachers around the country are strategically developing these character traits across the country.”


Molly McMahon, Program Lead

“Going to college was scary — learning was different, friends were new, and I felt very much on my own. And then there was a pressure of knowing what you were going to be when you graduated. That was a lot of change to navigate.”

Meredith Herrera, Co-Director of College Counseling, Branson 
Design Thinking Coach, The Guild

“It took me some time to feel comfortable reaching out to professors. Though I always believed that doing so would be helpful to my learning process, I soon came to recognize that it was essential.”

We’d love to hear from you! Share with us a photo of YOU from college + one thing you would redesign from your college experience. Add your response below and mention us on Twitter @teachersguild #reachwayhigher

Like what you read? Give The Teachers Guild a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.