Picture Yourself: A Mobile App for College Readiness

Picture Yourself in College
App interface for "Picture Yourself in College"

The login screen to the app.

Update: Just had an amazing pitch meeting with the University of California’s Office of the President, and they agreed to move my mobile app Picture Yourself in College into production!

Details are sketchy at this point, but the app may be used to reach out to underserved middle- and high school students throughout California to encourage and support them to apply to UC.

I am currently developing version 0.2 of the app in HTML5 using Pingendo and Twitter Bootstrap. As it progresses I will explore the possibility of creating a GitHub project for it so development can progress in the open. Stay tuned!

On March 17th I went to my very first hackathon at UC Berkeley. In 8 hours we had to create a working HTML5 prototype of a smartphone app that would help middle school and high school kids (especially from underserved populations) get good information about college and start to develop an identity as “college material”.
Our app, called Picture Yourself in College, helps students stay engaged with their path to college by literally and figuratively “picturing” themselves in different higher educational settings. They can take photos of themselves and superimpose their image against different college campuses, then share the photos with friends on their social networks. While they’re having fun with the images, they are also challenged to complete grade-scaffolded College Milestones like studying for the PSAT, asking for recommendation letters, and filling out the FAFSA. As they interact with the app over their 4 years in high school, it helps them collect all the materials they need for college applications, organize them, and send them off. These targeted milestones break the daunting task of applying to college into manageable interactions so students can start to picture themselves as “college-ready”.

Smartphone App- Index

The main page

The idea came from popular smartphone apps like “Zombie Booth” where you can take a photo and then add photo effects to make yourself look like a zombie or some other kind of monster. We decided that it would be a fun and engaging activity to let students take photos of themselves on different college campuses while thinking out their more serious college choices.

The app is also designed to notify students of the major milestones they need to be thinking about as they prepare for college– PSATs, making sure to get their A-G requirements, and visiting college campuses.

Our team won the competition and $500!

Please click your way through the working prototype and feel free to give constructive feedback.

The winning mockup was developed using a Mac HTML5 animation app called Tumult Hype. Hype gives you simple, visual tools to create any kind of interactive HTML document you want, and then easily publish to the web.

The team is talking about staying in touch to further develop the app. Stay tuned….

Smartphone app of a student editing a photo

Try on different college campuses

Picture Yourself-Milestones
Picture Yourself-Application


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Written by

Ted Curran is a Learning Experience Designer/Developer for Autodesk. He is committed to empowering educators and learners to create transformational change through effective pedagogy and technology integration. You can follow Ted on Mastodon, LinkedIn or learn more at my 'About" page. These thoughts are my own.

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