Seniors from around Sampson County have spent the last three years preparing for the next chapter in their lives. While their final choice for colleges has yet to be determined, students say the annual College Gear Up Day will be very beneficial in helping make the decision.
The annual College Gear Up Day will be held in conjunction with open houses Thursday, Aug. 23, from 6-8 p.m., as well as Friday, Aug. 24, from 2-4 p.m. for those families who are unable to attend the first session.
According to Tony Blount, coordinator of college advising and scholarships at Clinton High School, rising seniors are invited to attend and receive information regarding college applications, scholarships, financial aid and residence planning. All sessions will take place in the media center at Clinton High School.
“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.
According to Blount, students will receive information about the two-year community college application process as well as the four-year university process. N.C. Residency information will be discussed, as well as the FAFSA and the CSS Profile. Administration will also discuss SAT and ACT testing and timelines, transcript requests, Common App and CFNC application tools and advice for writing college essays.
During this year’s session, Blount said she will provide the seniors with materials that will be used throughout their senior year. Information covers topics like college admissions, scholarships, financial aid, essay writing, letters of recommendations and sending transcripts.
“Anything that deals with the funding and the application process we will cover that night and follow up with individual students and parents in our schools throughout the school year,” Blount said.
For students in Sampson County, the college process begins in eighth grade. Blount 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 at 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.
“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.”