Scholastic Steps

Published 7:49 pm Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Mississippi Scholars Program has been an encouragement tostudents over the last few years to take more rigorous classes inpreparation for college, and this year they’re trying to givestudents a little understanding of what other preparations theyneed to make.

Educational Services Foundation representative Heather Robertsmade the rounds to West Lincoln and Bogue Chitto attendancecenters, as well as Brookhaven Academy Monday and told the studentsthere are many reasons to go to college, and many ways toprepare.

“I know what it takes to apply, but I also know what it takes topay for it,” she said. “I meet students every day who want to go tocollege but don’t know what steps to take.”

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Roberts told the group that not only does a college degree driveup the student’s prospective salary when they get to the realworld, but also that it gives students a chance to learn aboutcareers they might never know about if it weren’t for college.

“College isn’t where the road ends, it’s where it starts,” shesaid.

Meanwhile, she told the students, the best way to get started isto put together a resume that details high school activities,because even if the GPA isn’t the top of the list, involvement inextracurricular activities can boost a student’s marketability tothe college of their choice.

And once you’ve hit senior year, it’s too late to fix glaringgrade problems, she said.

“When you apply, they’re looking at ninth, 10th, 11th grade,”Roberts said. “That senior year isn’t even in theconsideration.”

She encouraged the group to go ahead and take the ACT, becauseshe said she sees quite often where a student won’t take the test,but gets enough scholarships to afford college. When they changetheir mind about attending, they can’t because they haven’t takenthe tests yet.

“If you are eligible for a free or reduced lunch, you have twofee waivers for the ACT,” she said.

But don’t show up without studying, she told the students.

“If you skipped football practice all week, you wouldn’t bedressing out on Friday night,” she said. “Why would you show up forthe ACT if you haven’t had any practice?”

Some students think they don’t need to prepare for the ACT, shesaid, but that’s a mistake.

“It’s not just the nerds studying for the ACT,” Roberts said.”Everybody needs help. Nobody’s too good for it.”

When it comes down to it, she told the students, college is notjust about the school. It’s about a growing process that kids canenjoy in addition to learning about new ideas and careers and otherplaces and people.

“College is meant for you to live apart from parents and live oncampus with your peers,” she said. “Who wouldn’t want to do that?This year you need to get your feet on some college campuses.”

And then when the choice is made, it should only partly be basedon classes. Where a student goes to college needs to be somewherethey’ll enjoy being, Roberts said.

“You need to choose a college because you like it enough to livethere and you’re going to like the students enough to live amongthem,” she told the group.

Bogue Chitto principal Stacy Adcock said his school will beputting a new emphasis on higher education in the years tocome.

“This is so important to me, we’re going to get this informationto parents of the kindergarten students,” he said. “Every parentand student needs to look over this information in a serious,organized fashion.”