Clinton High School senior Nick Brewen has spent the last year traveling to different college campuses across the East coast. While his final choice has yet to be determined, Brewen says the annual College Gear Up Day will be very beneficial in his decision making.
Sampson County Schools and Clinton City Schools have joined together to offer a three-hour event in which students will be provided with information on what different colleges are looking for in a student. College Gear Up Day will be held Aug. 26, from 9 a.m – 12 p.m., at Clinton High School.
According to Tony Blount and Bambi Dove, college advisers for both school systems, rising seniors enrolled in Clinton High School or one of the county’s five high schools are invited to attend and receive organizational materials, assistance with college applications and scholarship information.
“Our goal is to give students the background information they need to start on the right path,” Blount said. “Early admissions has its perks and we want to prepare our students in August to get geared up and ready for the upcoming year.”
Throughout a seniors final year of high school, they are faced with many challenges and decisions that need to be made. The purpose of the information sessions is provide information the seniors need to make the first step in applying to colleges.
“Our students start off their senior year further ahead than other students across the state,” Blount explained.
Brewen, who has definite plans to attend a four-year university, has hopes of going to the U.S. Naval Academy. The senior has made visits to the academy, but still needs assistance with final applications and essays.
In addition to information about the application process, attendees will have a chance to learn how to write a personal statement — which some college require — prepare resumes and initiate financial aid options.
“Anything that does with the funding and the application process we will cover that morning and follow up with individual students and parents in our schools throughout the school year,” Blount said.
During the school year, Blount and Dove are responsible for hosting financial aid night at the area high schools.
“This is just a secondary event to support what we tell them on College Gear Up Day,” Blount said. “We try to assist our students with scholarship opportunities and help them find the funds necessary to attend those colleges they choose.”
For students in Sampson County, the college process begins in eighth grade. Blount and Dove said they visit the middle schools each year and introduce the upcoming freshmen to the college experience by helping set up College Foundation of North Carolina accounts.
“We really encourage all students to think about the college life,” Blount said. “While that doesn’t always mean the four year route, living in a dorm and eating a dining hall, the students need to realize there is an option for everyone.”
So far, more than 25 colleges or agencies, along with military personnel, have signed up for the event. The number of participants is still growing and is expected to increase in August.
Parents of seniors are welcome to attend the fair as well. Last year about 250 seniors attended the informational event.
“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.”
The Simple Gifts Fund’s Love of Learning Grant Program assists with the event, which was formed through a collaboration between Clinton City Schools and Sampson County Schools. Funds are awarded to educators for programs, instruction and opportunities such as College Gear Up Day.
For better preparation, the advisers are encouraging students to register before Aug. 19 at http://goo.gl/forms/jdsBnEAo3MmTen5P2.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.