Student Profile: De’Osha P., Class of 2015
Lake City High School
Major: Criminal Justice
Aspirations: To become a SLED
Francis Marion University
Scholarships and Grants:
|What type of college did you want and why?|
I was open to all college and university options until I quickly came to terms that my personality was best suited for a small to medium size college or university community. I also knew that I wanted to attend a college or university in my home state of South Carolina. My research led me to liberal arts colleges and small major universities that clearly appeared suited to my personality. I was attracted to small class size, low teacher-student ratio and discussion style classes similar to the type of environment at my high school. I also researched colleges and universities that offered graduate programs so that I would have the option of completing both my undergraduate and graduate degree programs at one college.
|What type of support did you receive during the college admissions process?|
I received non-stop ongoing support from Mr. and Mrs. Wynn. The support I received was incredible. They guided me through the process of developing and editing my résumé, editing my college essays, researching colleges, assisting with completing and submitting my college applications, and completing and submitting the FAFSA. While I was initially committed to attending Francis Marion University, a popular college choice for students from my high school. However after visiting Claflin University, where Mr. and Mrs. Wynn arranged a meeting with the Office of Financial Aid, and assisted me in negotiating a far better financial aid package than what Francis Marion had offered.
|What was most stressful about applying to colleges?|
The most stressful part of applying to my two colleges was everything! I found the application process, financial aid process, essay writing, paperwork, and communication with the office of financial aid to all be stressful and time consuming. At the end of the process I was disappointed that I had not engaged in more research and applied to more colleges so that I would have other financial aid offers to consider. The acceptance and financial aid offer I received from Claflin was not part of a ‘plan’ but was a ‘BLESSING’ as a result of all of the guidance and support I had through the process.
|What did you learn?|
I learned how important it is to begin the college planning process early, with the operative word being ‘planning.’ I was one of many students at my high school who had no plan! As I began developing a plan, I felt like a race car on a racetrack with cars that were barely moving. Many of my classmates were moving through senior year as though college would just happen. I learned that your test scores are very, very important, even if you have a high GPA. A mistake that I made, and others should avoid, is waiting until my senior year to take the SAT and ACT. I learned that there isn’t enough time to engage in the necessary test prep, and there is absolutely no time to increase your scores. Senior year is very demanding and can be distracting with senior activities and graduation preparation. I also learned how important it is to have good relationships with teachers, counselors, and administrators, particularly if you require recommendation letters and evaluations.
|The Money Factor!|
Despite my lack of planning and low test scores, I was blessed to receive nearly a full ride. Instead of the thousands of dollars in student loans that were part of my Award Letter from Francis Marion, Mr. and Mrs. Wynn and Ms. Yvonne Scott, from our school district, helped me to negotiate a great financial aid package with Claflin University—a school that I have already come to love during the my brief time on campus in the Summer Bridge Program.
|What do you wish you had done differently?|
I wish I would have started the process earlier, had taken more classes through the Dual Enrollment program, focused on preparing for the SAT so that I could have earned a higher score, and assumed more leadership positions in my activities.
|What is your advice?|
You do not have to know exactly what you want to do in life. College is a place where you can explore options and learn so much more about yourself. Take high school seriously and recognize the importance of each and every class. Take advantage of extra credit opportunities, set goals, get involved, perform meaningful community service, and assume leadership in your school and community. Perhaps most importantly, get help! Counselors are responsible for too many students to have the time to guide you through the process—a hugely complicated process! In the end, you will be excited about the acceptance letters, but it is important to carefully read and understand your award letters. Award letters are often written in ways that may suggest one thing, but really mean something entirely different. You need a degree in accounting to uncover the hidden cost of attendance versus what is actually being offered.