On October 1, 2019, at 7:00 pm, students and parents filed into the Midlothian High School auditorium, as Dr. Shawn Abel welcomed the audience. Mrs. Maureen Martin began the meeting by discussing the opening of FAFSA on October 1st, as well as informing the audience about the College Fair at CTC Hall on October 28, 2019. Mrs. Martin introduced Ms. Kathy Davis, the GRASP advisor for Midlothian. Davis talked about the FAFSA submission deadlines as well as a specific scholarship available for junior girls, the Children’s Museum Snow Queen Scholarship for $1,000 dollars due on November 1st. After Ms. Martin introduced the college representatives, they began their speeches regarding how to prepare for college.
Mr. Steven R. Milley, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Virginia Tech started the remarks with Where can I succeed? Choosing the right college for me. Milley offered advice on how students can narrow down their choices for colleges and categorize their choices into three groups: reach schools , middle schools, and safety schools. Students have a lower chance of getting accepted into reach schools but should still apply to at least one. Middle schools include colleges for which the students have met all the requirements and have a fairly good chance of gaining acceptance. Safety schools include colleges for which the student has met all the requirements, which most likely result in acceptance.
Ms. Macy Lenox, Associate Dean of Admissions at the University of Virginia, discussed How do I prepare for College? My High School Record, AP/IB courses, and ACT and SAT tests. Lenox discussed what colleges look for when reading applications, how they look for the rigor of classes taken and core classes, explaining what they look for in transcripts and also, how colleges find the students’ transcripts more important than SAT or ACT score. She advises students to take both the ACT and the SAT so that students can choose the one with the higher score.
Mr. Elmer Campos, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Recruitment at Virginia Commonwealth University, talked about Navigating the Admissions, Application, and Testing Maze. Campos stressed the importance of organizing when applying to colleges, addressing the importance of applying early to colleges instead of waiting until the last minute and advised students to apply in the fall. He mentioned recommendation letters and talked about the importance of choosing someone who can describe the student in the best way possible, recommending that students talk to a boss, someone they work with, or a teacher when it comes to recommendations.
Ms. Belinda Hill, Associate Director of Financial Aid at the University of Richmond, informed the audience about the cost of going to college in her speech Financial Aid- My ticket to College. Hill explained the different ways students can use Financial Aid, such as: grants, scholarships, and work study programs to help pay for college. She stressed the importance of filing for FAFSA early, regardless of school deadlines, referring also to the Net Price Calculator that every school must have on their website to give students an estimate of the costs associated with the school.
Ms. Leah Wiseman, Outreach Coordinator at John Tyler Community College, gave insight into Virginia’s Community Colleges, Where Opportunities Begin. Wiseman informed the audience about the benefits of starting at a community college like John Tyler. She drew attention to the fact that John Tyler they does not require SAT or ACT scores and emphasized the guaranteed admissions program that the school offers.
Ms. Yoma Miller, Associate Director of Admission at Christopher Newport University, talked about The College Outcome: Developing a Plan for What’s Next. Miller discussed what to expect when going to college: the activities, the sports, and the social life. She advised students to think about what they want to get out of college and what kind of extracurricular activities interest them. She also talks about community service and ways students can give back to their college campus community while in college.
Ms. TeCarla Moore, Senior Admissions Counselor at Old Dominion University, gave advice to seniors leaving high school in her speech Transition Trail: Leaving High School and Letting Go. Moore pointed out the importance of the student leading the journey to college and into their future. She advised having an open mind and not turning down a school just because the school’s tuition doesn’t fit the student’s price range, stressing the importance of preparing for the hard work that comes with college and making use of the resources available to them.
The night concluded with a simple Q&A and a round of applause, as the students and parents went home with the new information they acquired, more prepared to continue the journey to college.