Monday, as the hundreds of seniors walked through the front doors of one of the five high schools in Sampson County, many were more prepared for what lies ahead, thanks to the joint effort of Clinton High School and Sampson County Schools annual College Gear Up Day.
According to Toni Blount and Bambi Dove, college advisors, both school systems joined together to offer seniors an informational event that provided students with information on different colleges, as well as tips for applying and paying for school. More than 100 seniors and 200 parents showed up for the fourth annual event, held at Clinton High School.
“Students attending College Gear Up were able to take away ideas on how to choose a college based on fit and match, as well as avenues to apply to those colleges,” Blount shared following last week’s event. “College Gear Up 4 was highly successful with student and parent participation from each Sampson County high school and Clinton High School.”
During the three-hour event, current college students served on a student panel to answer questions about the college experience, as well as provide the seniors with information needed in making final preparations for attending college.
According to Blount, the goal of last week’s event was to provide students with the background information they need to start on the right path when applying for college.
“Early admissions has its perks and we want to prepare our students in August to get geared up and ready for the upcoming year,” Blount shared.
The essay portion of the application process often causes seniors the most stress, therefore Blount said students who attended College Gear Up were provided an essay writing session, to which many positive comments were received.
“Students took away great ideas to begin thinking about their essay and how to make it their own,” Blount added.
In addition to searching for the right choice in colleges and essay writing, students were assisted with financial aid.
“Students had the opportunity to gather a wealth of information on financial aid,” Blount said. “The FAFSA opens early this year on Oct. 1, so students are encouraged to apply early. Applying early gives the student the benefit of knowing how much financial aid they can receive much earlier when deciding which college to attend.”
The college advisors said students were also given the opportunity to speak with representatives from college admission offices and ask questions about the potential colleges they were interested in attending.
College Gear Up Day has been a joint effort between Clinton City Schools and Sampson County Schools for the last four years. On Oct. 14, these seniors will be given another chance, along with juniors, to visit a college fair at the Bellamy Center as part of the traveling admissions fair sponsored by Carolinas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.
Blount said November will bring College Application Week, which offers seniors a specialized time where the application fee for many colleges is waived.
More than 25 colleges and agencies participated in the event last week, along with military personnel.
“Students learn they have the opportunity to be in the driver’s seat and know they have a plan for after graduation,” Blount said. “We want our students to begin thinking about college early.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.