- South Lenoir High School
October all about college for Class of 2020
If there ever was a good week to tackle a detailed online application that asked for a lot of personal information and had the potential to determine the course of your adult life, it was last week – College Application Week.
Hundreds of college-bound seniors at LCPS high schools took advantage of the opportunity to avoid an application fee and to get the dedicated assistance of their school counselors and college advisers in applying to the colleges and universities they feel represent their best next step toward a comprehensive education and a promising career.
High schools have celebrated the entire month of October as Countdown to College, with college trivia contests, activities that drew attention to teachers’ alma maters and nights set aside to help parents and students accumulate the information they needed for the online applications.
With 38 four-year institutions in the state waiving application fees during the week, families could save $65 to $85 per application – not an insignificant amount when students apply to multiple schools – and with the free-application policy of the state’s 58 community colleges, students had a wealth of schools from which to choose.
“That’s nearly a hundred institutions students can apply to,” said Leah Daniel, a Carolina College Advising Corps counselor based at North Lenoir High School. “Having that one week of free applications certainly motivates us as well as the students to get applications in, to work hard to get everything done. It’s such a good opportunity for them.”
Daniel expected as many of 175 North Lenoir students to submit an average of five applications each during the week, she said this past Thursday. Prior to the week, she had met with virtually the entire senior class – some 200 students – to “build a college list” based on what they wanted to study, where they wanted to be and what financial aid they needed, as well as other factors.
“The biggest misconception for our students is cost,” she said. “They look up an institution online and see cost of attendance and think I can’t afford that. But they’re not considering financial aid and scholarships. Most students will not pay the cost of attendance at a university. They’ll pay some figure much lower.”
Financial aid will be a focus of College and Financial Aid Night on Wednesday, when representatives of more than 50 college and universities will be at Kinston Community Center. Representatives will be on hand from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and a free workshop on financial aid will be held at 6:30 p.m.
College and Financial Aid Night is the natural culmination of Countdown to College, according to Lauran Tyndall, who coordinated the month’s activities at Kinston High School. “We advertise that event to all seniors planning to attend college after high school,” she said.
Typically, about 80 percent of LCPS’s graduating seniors leave high school for college. Some are the first in their families to do so, making assistance with the application process and financial aid that much more important.
“We have about 80 percent first-generation, so we really spend a lot of time helping,” Karen Roddy, counselor at Lenoir County Early College High School, said. “Most do go on to a four-year college, so we promote the week as a cost-saving event.”
For the first time, East Carolina University was an option during this year’s College Application Week, a boon for LCPS seniors given ECU’s proximity and appeal. “Their website has gotten a lot of traffic and several of our students waited to apply, because they are a $75-per-application school,” North Lenoir’s Daniel said.
At South Lenoir High, senior Mallory Dawson worked with counselor Candice Tyndall to complete her own application to ECU as well as Pitt Community College.
“ECU’s like a back-up plan because I’m planning to play volleyball and softball at Pitt, but I’ve taken so many (college credit) classes, I might not be able to go to Pitt,” said Mallory, who expects to graduate in May with both a high school diploma and an associate degree from Lenoir Community College. “I’ll probably apply to a few more, just to have more options.”
ECU and Lenoir Community College are favorites of the district’s seniors during College Application Week, according to Tyndall, who was in her seventh year of helping with the event.
“The LCC Guarantee has factored into play,” she said, referring to the community college program that covers tuition and fees for Lenoir County students who meet academic standards. “Even if they have so many college credits, they may go there for at least a year to finish up their associate’s because they’re going to get that free tuition. That’s been a positive factor for us.”
Photo captions (top to bottom):
Leah Daniel, a Carolina College Advising Corps counselor based at North Lenoir High School, helped about 90 percent of the school’s senior class apply to college during College Application Week last week.
Counselor Jill Deriso works with Kinston High School seniors during College Application Week. College-bound KHS seniors are encouraged to attend Lenoir County’s College and Financial Aid Night scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Kinston Community Center.
South Lenoir High senior Mallory Dawson and counselor Candice Tyndall complete an online application during College Application Week. For the first time this year, East Carolina University – a choice of Mallory’s – was among the institutions that waived application fees.