While tests and term papers still are important, many high school seniors currently are shifting their priorities to the long-term college search.
That’s why Bradwell Institute allowed about 200 seniors to spend an hour of their day in the school’s computer labs applying to schools during the Georgia Apply to College Day on Tuesday.
“This is a big deal,” school counselor Torri Jackson said. “I’m very impressed because we have 390 seniors and to have 200 who want to do this is remarkable.”
During the event, students applied to one college of their choice using the online resource GAcollege411.org.
Counselors, graduation coaches and volunteers from local colleges and universities walked students through the process, oversaw their progress and answered their questions.
The school’s goal was to have each participating student successfully complete at least one admission application using the website, Jackson said.
Though she originally wanted to join the U.S. Air Force, senior De’Monica Fleming used the hour to apply to Valdosta State University.
“I wanted a backup plan,” she said, explaining her first application. Now Fleming plans to apply to more schools, and she anticipates future applications will be easier as a result of having assistance the first time around.
Students attended a prep session before the event, where Jackson gave them resources about how to gather information and prepare applications. The participants also selected three schools that they plan to apply to.
As the students entered the labs Tuesday, the volunteers gave each participant a folder with his or her current grade-point average and spring schedule, Fleming said.
“I’m really busy with senior projects and stuff, so to do this inside of school, taking the time out to get us out of classes — it was a big help,” said Fleming, who juggles school, a nighttime Savannah Tech class and a part-time job.
One of the greatest benefits of the program is the encouragement and motivation it offers to the students, Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer said.
Before the event, Scherer welcomed the students and explained how the process has changed greatly since she was a college applicant.
“It’s a hard process. It’s not one that necessarily comes particularly easy for you … and it’s nice to have support … , ” she said. “I grew up in a household where my parents loved me and supported me very much, but neither of them had ever been to college, so they didn’t know how to help with college applications, how to help with financial aid.
“We’re going to try to make it easier for you today by helping you,” she added.
During the first session, one student who was born in Europe was not able to answer many of the questions on the application, such as his city of birth and how long he has resided in the United States, Scherer said. Without answers, the system would not let him continue the application.
Scherer told him to answer the questions to the best of his ability and then discuss the answers with his parents at home, she said.
“If nothing else, today at least helps them figure out what they’ve got to find the answers to,” Scherer said.
The event was sponsored by Communities in Schools, the Georgia Department of Education, the Georgia Independent College Association, the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, the Georgia Student Finance Commission, the Technical College System of Georgia and the University System of Georgia.