Guest Blog: Sharing Your Story Can Change the World!

What is the #WeBelongInCollege campaign?

#WeBelongInCollege is a highly interactive, impactful social media campaign that encourages students to share a story about a time when they struggled and as a result, questioned if they belonged in college, either while applying to – or getting through – college. And in an effort to help other students who may be facing similar challenges, students are encouraged to also share how they managed to persist. By sharing their stories on social media using the hashtag #WeBelongInCollege, students will be able to help others understand that even though we all struggle, we all belong in college.

#WeBelongInCollege will launch on March 9 and seeks to create a viral lift that will give hope and a sense of belonging to millions of students across the country, especially first-generation students, students from low-income backgrounds, and students of color. In addition, students can submit their story for a chance to win one of twenty-five $1,000 scholarships from Get Schooled.

#WeBelongInCollege was created and developed through a partnership between the PERSONAL STATEMENT film team and Get Schooled, a national nonprofit helping young people get to college, find first jobs, and succeed in both.

Why is the campaign important for students as they explore their college-going journey?

Applying to and getting through college can be one of the most difficult times in a student’s educational journey. Nearly all students, especially those from low-income backgrounds and first-generation students, struggle during the college-going process. It’s critical, especially for these studentst, that they know they’re not alone. #WeBelongInCollege was inspired by research that proved that students who share their stories of struggle and success are not only themselves more likely to persist, but so too are the students who hear about others’ struggles.

We encourage students to check out example #WeBelongInCollege Stories for inspiration. Students can also text “BELONG” to 33-55-77 for additional support.

What’s the best way for educators to get involved in the campaign?  

  • Promote the Campaign: Activate your network to share their #WeBelongInCollege stories on social using our Digital Media Kit.
  • Create your own #WeBelongInCollege story: Learn how to create your own story
  • Twitter Chat: Participate in the #WeBelongInCollege Twitter Chat on March 26!
  • Request a free copy of the Film and Curriculum: PERSONAL STATEMENT is giving away 1,500 free copies of the film to educators who want to use the free #WeBelongInCollege curriculum to engage their students in the campaign. The curriculum unit amplifies the power of the experience of engaging students in creating their own #WeBelongInCollege stories by incorporating a screening of the film, PERSONAL STATEMENT.  John Branam is the executive director of Get Schooled, a national nonprofit whose mission is to help young people get to college, find first jobs, and succeed in both through a unique blend of compelling digital content and personalized support. John earned his B.A. in political science from Washington & Lee University and a J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law. He serves on several local and national boards and lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two young children.