An online tool that has been helping Rappahannock Community College students make informed choices since 2009 has just been “rebuilt from the inside out,” says Virginia Community College System (VCCS) spokesman Dr. Sharon Morrissey. The 5.0 version of the Virginia Education Wizard, scheduled for a January 31 launch, carries a new slogan of “Explore the world. Choose right.”
It will streamline student support services in order to enhance efficiency and increase usage across Virginia, and will let users create a personalized roadmap from high school to college or career. “Wizard 5.0 has an updated site look, feel, and usability,” says Morrissey.
An upgraded veterans’ section — designed by veterans enrolled in Virginia’s community colleges — has been added, as have new tools in the Careers/Workforce section that will help prepare users for the job market, and a redesigned, easy-to-understand case management system for coaches and advisors.
In addition, a game called “Imagine” allows users to describe the lifestyle they wish to attain; the Wizard then shows how much money would be needed to support that lifestyle, and lists occupations that might command the necessary salary.
The new features enhance the Wizard’s former capabilities, which include analyzing users’ work-related interests in order to recommend appropriate career options; collecting real-time data indicating current pay grades in local Virginia markets and highlighting jobs where workers are in demand; projecting expected college costs based on the curriculums and schools that users select; and dovetailing information from Virginia community colleges with that of public and private four-year institutions, to help students take the right courses to qualify for guaranteed transfer agreements. It also connects users directly to the community colleges’ online application and registration process, gives a step-by-step guide to the process of applying for financial aid, and calculates equivalent tuition at other Virginia state colleges for purposes of comparison.
“You will love the new look and feel of Wizard 5.0,” says Morrissey. She adds special thanks to Edna Kolovani and the Tidewater Community College team for their coordination of the United States Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant (TAACCCT), which provided funding for the upgrade.