Student Profile: Avery M., Class of 2015
Lake City High School
College of Charleston
Major: Elementary Education
Aspirations: To become an elementary school teacher
Scholarships and Grants:
College of Charleston
Jackson State Honors College
|What type of college did you want and why? |
I wanted to attend college in a large, friendly, diverse city within driving distance of home.
|What type of support did you receive during the college admissions process? |
I entered the college planning process totally clueless. I was unaware of the differences between liberal arts colleges, research universities, or the types of programs offered. I was equally unaware of the admissions and financial aid processes or which type of colleges I would even qualify for admission. I could not have successfully navigated the college admissions process without the support of the Florence County School District 3 College Planning Cohort, and particularly, Mrs. Wynn. Mrs. Wynn guided me through the process, suggested colleges, recommended the ‘Call Me MISTER‘ program, spoke to admissions officers on my behalf at each of my colleges, and helped me prepare for my admissions interviews. Mr. Wynn helped me with my college admissions, Call Me MISTER, and scholarship essays. My parents provided ongoing encouragement and kept me from procrastinating. My mom always said, “Did you do what Mr. and Mrs. Wynn told you to do? Now, get it done!”
|What was most stressful about applying to colleges? |
In a word, ‘EVERYTHING!’ Completing the applications, filing the forms, communicating with the Office of Financial Aid, writing all of the required essays, meeting all of the college and scholarship deadlines, and interviewing were all stressful.
|What did you learn? |
Preparing for college requires a lot of organization, keeping track of deadlines, and an enormous amount of time devoted to writing good essays to gain admission and to qualify for scholarships. I learned that a great college admission essay can help overcome low test scores. I also learned that you must engage in hours of research to properly prepare for college and scholarship interviews. Through your research you must be prepared to answer questions and prepared with your own questions to show that you have background knowledge about the college, its programs, and its mission. Mrs. Wynn prepared me for my interviews. I entered each interview with a high quality résumé, copy of my essay, copy of my recommendation letter, and list of prepared questions. Being well prepared helped to ease the anxiety and made a great impression on the interviewer.
|The Money Factor! |
Money plays a huge factor in choosing a college, however, you should also determine if you can see yourself living, learning, and being a part of a college community for the next four years of your life. My family and I reviewed each of the Award Letters, visited each of the campuses, and found the college that was affordable, and that was a good fit.
|What do you wish you had done differently? |
I wish my high school would have provided more insight into the complexity and challenges of the entire college planning process. If I would have had any idea of what was required, I would have started researching and applying to colleges earlier. This would have reduced the enormous amount of stress I experienced from rushing throughout the process. I would have also better prepared for the SAT/ACT and taking the tests much earlier so that I would have had time to increase my scores. I had no idea of how much scholarship money is dependent on your SAT/ACT scores. While I have a great financial aid package at a great college, I should have procrastinated less and been more organized.
|What is your advice? |
Get organized, do not procrastinate, identify experienced people who can support you through the process, and definitely find someone who can review and edit your essays. There are many twists and turns throughout the college admissions process and choosing the right college, with the best financial aid package, can be a long and stressful process. Getting admitted into college and competing for scholarships is a highly competitive process. You are not only being compared against students from your own high school, but against millions of students nationally and internationally trying to gain admissions into the same colleges and qualify for the same scholarships. You have to bring you ‘A’ game every step of the way and maintain a dogmatic attitude.