Student Profile: Carrington S., Class of 2015
Sprayberry High School
Alabama A&M University
Aspirations: Fashion Merchandising
|What type of college did you want and why?|
When I was looking for schools, I mainly focused on the colleges that offered my specific major—Fashion Merchandising and Marketing. I also wanted a college that had a small teacher/student ratio so I could actually get to know my professors. I had not really considered an HBCU, but after experiencing the environment of one, I fell in love with the environment and campus culture. I wanted a college campus that felt like home. I have changed my major to Economics for my Bachelor’s degree, but I will get my Master’s in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing.
|What type of support did you receive during the college admissions process?|
My biggest support system through the college process was my mom. She was there for me each step of the way and she showed me tough love through the process. Also, the Education Ministry at my church (Turner Chapel AME) was a huge help because they truly cared about my success in the long run. I did not depend on, nor receive any help, from my school counselors during the college planning process.
|What was most stressful about applying to colleges?|
The most stressful part of the college process was waiting for the responses from the colleges. I was completely discouraged when all my friends were receiving their responses and I had not received any. I was really stressed out during spring semester of my senior year because I had no responses until March. My mom was especially stressed that I did not receive any acceptance letters.
|What did you learn?|
I learned that the college process is very competitive, and you always need to be one step ahead of everyone else. You always need to put forth your best effort so that you can develop your best work. Also, your parents are your best friends in the process because they have gone through it. Listen to what they have to say even when you do not want to.
|The Money Factor!|
I will be receiving local scholarships from being named the 2nd Attendant in the 2015 Pink Cultured Pearls Cotillion, the TCC Ivy and Pearls program, the HOPE scholarship, and the Georgia Tuition Grant. Although I am waiting on responses from several other scholarships, at this time, I will be taking out student loans and my parents will be paying for most of my education.
|What do you wish you had done differently?|
I wish I would have started the college planning process a lot earlier than I did. I actually wish I had started doing college research during my sophomore year instead of in my junior year. I also should have been more proactive and not have procrastinated as much as I did. I clearly should have taken advantage of the opportunities through the clubs and organizations at my school and my church to have been more involved in my school and community.
|What is your advice?|
My advice is to begin researching colleges as you enter high school so you will know the grades and test scores expected by the colleges. Also, do as much community service as possible, become a leader throughout high school, and take as many of the college courses and AP courses offered at your school. Your grades and coursework will be extremely important in making you a competitive candidate for admission at highly selective colleges and may qualify you for thousands of dollars in scholarships. Finally, get help! The college admissions and financial aid processes are hugely complicated. Without the support and guidance of our College Planning Cohort, I would not have reached beyond Clemson and the University of South Carolina. I have already experienced more in the Meyerhoff Scholar Summer Bridge Program at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County than in my wildest dreams. By the time I actually begin my freshman year, I will have visited the National Institutes of Health, Johns Hopkins Medical Center, the U.S. Army Research Center, laid out my 4-year course schedule, and prepared my internship application for my summer internship between my freshman and sophomore year. My Advice is, “Don’t try to do this by yourself!”