A Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal special section
Is it ever too early to prep for college? BY RILEY MANNING DAILY JOURNAL
They say the early bird gets the worm, a saying that seems particularly true for applying to college. Though most high school seniors spend the fall semester filling out applications, retrieving letters of recommendation, and penning college essays to meet most institutions’ due date in early spring, a student who has not at least begun discerning which university might be right for them is behind the curve. Most admissions recruiters advise students to start getting to know colleges before their senior year begins by taking campus tours and talking with students. Many colleges even offer early decision deadlines, which allow incoming freshmen to receive advance notification of their acceptance. But how early is too early? Is it appropriate for, say, a high school sophomore to begin visiting campuses and speaking with college recruiters? “Actually, around sophomore year is the ideal time,” said Johnathan Ferrell, director of admissions at Millsaps College. “One of the tools we actually use in the recruiting process is ‘demonstrated interest,’ meaning what the student has done to show interest in Millsaps.” Ferrell said small, liberal arts colleges like Millsaps particularly favor a relationship developed over time with a student and their family. “It really helps a student come to life for us and be more than just an application,” he said.
Alissa King, director of admissions at William Carey University, agreed, and said starting early gives a student more time to figure out exactly what they want from their college experience. She recommended visiting schools of different sizes in different regions to get a taste for their preferences. “Every university has its own unique offerings of sports, clubs, and intramurals,” she said. “So a campus visit is crucial for them to talk to professors, talk to students, and find their own criteria for what is a good fit.” In addition, an early start gives both students and parents more time to prepare. With college in mind, high school students may find more direction in their high school studies. “They have more opportunities to take the ACT and more time to discover and improve their academic strengths and weaknesses,” King said. “For parents, it’s more time to apply to scholarships and stay ahead on their Federal Application for Student Aid forms.” King and Ferrell said it is never too early for a student to start thinking about college. Institutions are reaching out to students as young as junior high schoolers and high school freshmen to spark interest. But Ferrell warned students not to take for granted the place they are in currently. “I would caution them not to get too far removed, mentally,” he said. “They can’t forget about the importance of doing well all the way through their senior year of high school.” firstname.lastname@example.org
September 23, 2013 ■ Section C
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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2013
SEPTEMBER 23, 2013 â€“ NOVEMBER 15, 2013 Your school is invited to participate in GEAR UP Mississippi College Application Month
College Application Month
College Application Month is a national initiative with the goal of providing every graduating high school senior the opportunity to apply to college. Special focus is placed on assisting students who would be the first in their families to attend college and students who may not have otherwise seriously considered applying to college. College Application Month can open the door for students by encouraging them to take a significant step toward college in their senior year.
Why One Month Dedicated to Completing College Applications? The application process can be daunting, even for students surrounded by a support system of caring adults. This event will help break down the application process for students and the month provides dedicated time to ensure all students successfully submit at least one application.
For Information on How to Participate: If your school would like to participate in this initiative, or for more information, you should contact the GEAR UP Mississippi office at 601-432-7876 or Dr. Lashanda Vance at email@example.com
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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2013
Middle-schooler enjoys educational benefits of USM summer offerings BY CLAIRE BAILEY
Sharks. Killer beasts that could kill a man in one bite. Cruel monsters that strike fear into even the bravest of men. At least, that’s what people think. That’s what I thought too before I went to a weeklong camp called Shark Fest. Shark Fest taught me what a shark really is, and I’m not talking about Jaws. The first day I didn’t know what to expect. I found a comfortable seat in the back of the cozy room, and waited for another girl my age to show up. I was surprised to learn I was the only girl there besides a counselor.
That day we learned all about sharks: what they ate, where they lived, the different types of sharks, their body parts and senses, and anything involved with the word shark. At the end of the day, I actually felt sorry for the poor, overfished animal that most people consider a cold-blooded killer. The next day, we were off on a boat in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, catching, measuring, tagging and releasing sharks. These sharks weren’t the Great Whites of television fame, but that did not make them any less important. The first one I held had skin that felt like sandpaper or felt smooth de-
pending on which way you rubbed it. At first, I thought he was dead, but then he began wiggling in my hand. Once we were finished with him, he was overjoyed to be back in the salty water. On the third day, we dissected a “volunteer shark.” By dissecting the shark, we learned about the shark from the inside out. I handled the smell better than most of the boys. We also went to the beach and collected samples of other animals that live in similar habitats. Later in the day, I went kayaking for the first PHOTOS BY GULF COAST RESEARCH LAB, MARINE EDUCATION CENTER time. As the kayak moved Claire Bailey, 12, left, helps a University of Southern Mississippi student inspect a small shark caught in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Ocean Springs during Shark TURN TO SUMMER, 4C Week in June.
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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2013
Summer: Shark Fest exceeds expectations FROM 3C
through the water, two dolphins moved in to investigate us. I’m still surprised I didn’t flip out of the kayak. The fourth day, we took a trip to Ship Island, one of the barrier Islands off the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Campers combed the beach looking for sharks’ teeth in the sand. I found 18. We visited the fort on the island and learned how it played a part in the Civil War, which took place in the 1860s. One of our counselors started fishing off the pier, and he had a large shark on the line that even jumped out of the water. On the last day of camp we took part in many different activities, including making paintings of sharks to take home. After wanting
to attend Shark Fest for several years, the camp has exceeded my goal of how much fun you can have learning about the ocean and its creatures. I have been attending camps at the Gulf Coast Research Lab since I was 5. Shark Fest was held several times in June and July for students ages 12 to 14 and 14 to 18. The camps were during the day, and each camp lasted five days. Campers visited top shark fishing hotspots on the Barrier Islands aboard a research vessel. They were able to catch and tag sharks to contribute to ongoing scientific research. Students also interacted with Gulf Coast Research Laboratory scientists. In addition to sharks, campers also learned about skates and
rays, which are in the same family group as sharks. The Marine Education Center, is located in Ocean Springs. It is an outreach and education arm of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL). GCRL is a satellite campus of the University of Southern Mississippi. It houses undergraduate classes and is the home of USM’s Department of Coastal Sciences. Shark Fest is only one of several summer programs offered by the USM Department of Coastal Sciences to students in elementary, middle and high school, for fun, but also for some, in preparation for further studies in a similar field during their college years.
CLAIRE BAILEY, 12, is a seventhgrader at Tupelo Middle School.
Student shares importance of finding the right college
very year, like. My parents countless practically had students to push me into apply to atthe car to make tend big-name the four-hour universities. In the drive from Biloxi spring of 2012, I to Columbus. was one of those The first time Bayleigh Herron students. I saw the camI remember fillpus, I fell in love ing out all the applicawith its originality. tions and submitting Mississippi University admissions essays in my for Women, affectionhigh school’s office durately known as The W, is ing my off block, becom- not like other schools; ing excited to be a legacy when I came onto camat a state institution. pus, I immediately felt When I applied for a like I was home. scholarship at The W, I After my interview, I had no idea what the knew this school was campus was really about where I needed to be. I or what it even looked began researching the
school’s history, and memorizing all the information on the website. When I got a call from admissions asking me if I was interested in going to leadership conference, I jumped at the opportunity and even got a scholarship as a result. My first days attending college were some of the best of my life. I never felt lost or confused. There was always a smiling face and a helping hand to guide me and to point me in the right direction. The 14:1 TURN TO RIGHT COLLEGE, 6C
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COLLEGE PREP MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2013 |
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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2013
Value of a college education remains high
n recent weeks, President dent aid to colleges that admit Obama has weighed in on more disadvantaged students, the important subject of that show progress in lowering higher education in America. costs and raising scholarships, Much of the conversation has foand that shepherd students to cused on the cost of a college edearn a degree.” ucation and the very real Advancing legislation to challenges of student debt loom- Robert Pearigen achieve these goals through ing over more and more young Congress may take years, time Americans. As this conversation that current college students continues, we must also seriously disand rising high school students simply cuss expectations related to student don’t have. learning and the value of a college eduAt institutions like Millsaps College, cation. we have already been working to impleWhile the president’s plan includes a ment these objectives with our student new rating system for colleges and uni- scholars and high school students who versities, which would tie federal fund- seek to be part of our community and ing to their efforts to better manage earn their degree with us. costs and diversify student enrollment, Earning a college degree can be exthe plan also calls for greater innovapensive, but study after study shows tion and competition among instituthat a high quality education is the best tions of higher learning. The New York investment a family can make. At MillTimes, in an editorial published Sunsaps, we help our students to reduce day, Aug. 25, summed it up well, writing their costs, and we are proud that 96 that the “basic idea is to give more stupercent of our students receive finan-
cial assistance through a combination of scholarships based on academic merit, talent in performing or visual arts, and family financial need. And, after graduation from Millsaps, 95 percent of our alumni are employed or in graduate school within six months. Those results are just one aspect of the educational value we deliver. Crafting an accurate comparison of cost and financial assistance between smaller, private colleges and larger, public universities is difficult and can provide a misleading picture. Residential liberal arts colleges offer experiences that can’t always be found in a larger college atmosphere. Large public universities provide an excellent opportunity for many students, but we offer a different experience for the students who come to our campus. At Millsaps, there are key expectations and promises that we provide to our students, including substantive daily interaction and close working relationships with faculty (94% of whom hold the highest degrees in their fields). And all of our classes, which average 14 students, feature honors level teaching. Developing skills of critical thinking, problem solving, and written and oral communication are hallmarks of not just some but all of our classes at Millsaps. The Millsaps experience, both in and outside of the classroom, also encourages students to entertain and discuss
questions about faith, values, ethics, and purpose – questions that will continue to challenge them throughout their lives and careers. Like other private colleges, we recognize that we cannot compete with public universities in terms of cost alone. We know, however, that we excel in terms of value – not only because we “shepherd” students to earn their degree in four years or fewer, but because we do it from a perspective that recognizes, respects, and challenges students to learn in a way that fully prepares them for success and leadership after graduation. American historian Will Durant once wrote, “Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.” For tens of thousands of students in America, this process of discovery is unfortunately becoming more elusive as the cost of higher education continues to rise. President Obama’s focus on education is a welcome reminder to all of us who work to teach, support, and mentor college students. Addressing the issues of his proposals – and more importantly, working to resolve those issues – will help us all to concentrate our complete attention on the exciting journey of learning.
DR. ROBERT W. PEARIGEN is President of Millsaps College, a liberal arts college in Jackson affiliated with the United Methodist Church.
Right College: W the right choice for Herron going through recruitment and then joining a student teacher ratio four year social club, helped me feel more playing a famous game of comfortable to talk to my mud volleyball, singing in professors because my the cafeteria, becoming classes were small an orientation leader and enough that I could dea student leader. velop a relationship with I fell in love with this each of my professors. campus, and I cannot I even had one profeswait to see the surprises sor who would text all of that God has in store for the students who were me as I embark on the absent from class to make rest of my college joursure they were all right. ney. During my first year at I recommend to anyThe W, I immersed myself one looking to further in traditions, such as their education at an inFROM 4C
photo by PhotograpyByRichelle.net
294 Prentiss Street | Baldwyn, MS | 662.365.8087
stitution of higher learning to please keep The W in mind. It is a decision I have not regretted. A campus immersed in history and traditions, there is always a sense of belonging at The W. If you are interested in exploring this rich environment, please visit www.muw.edu.
BAYLEIGH HERRON of Biloxi is a sophomore majoring in physical sciences with a teacher certification at The W.
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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2013
Important things to consider when choosing a college
t William dents to make a Carey, I campus visit before serve as an making their final admissions college decision. counselor for the Campus tours are a southwest, central great way for stuand north Missisdents to see how sippi counties, and Jessica Clark they would “fit in” I am here to make on campus. A camthe admissions pus tour can also faprocess as easy as possible. cilitate a visit with a Listed below are some of department dean to disthe key points I think are cuss curriculum planning the most important to con- of degree choice. Also, sider when trying to find William Carey has a 13 to 1 the “perfect” school. student/teacher ratio. With • ACT – I would encoursmaller classes, students age all high school students form close bonds with facto take the ACT in a timely ulty and classmates. manner and take it multiStudents are welcome to ple times. A higher ACT contact me at (800) 962score leads to increased 5991 ext. 6450 or email me scholarship opportunities. at firstname.lastname@example.org to • Campus tour – It is exarrange a tour of Carey. tremely important for stu• Scholarships – William
or 1300 or higher SAT score (math and verbal score only) are needed to qualify. FIRST-TIME FRESHMEN AND FIRST-TIME INTERNATIONAL STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS Interested applicants must Scholarship ACT On-Campus Off-Campus GPA* complete an admission Trustee 27-28 $6,800 $4,600 3.2 and scholarship applicaPresidential 24-26 $5,900 $4,100 3.00 tion online. Academic 21-23 $4,700 $3,000 2.75 William Carey will pay 30 Opportunity 20 $3,600 $2,000 2.5 hours of tuition for the first two years and 33 hours the TRANSFER STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS last two years. In addition, Scholarship Cumulative GPA On-Campus Off-Campus GPA* the recipient will receive a Presidential 3.5 above $6,000 $4,200 3 $1725 room waiver. Academic 3.0-3.49 $4,800 $3,100 2.75 I would encourage all Opportunity 2.5-2.99 $3,800 $2,100 2.5 students to complete their FASFA forms as soon as *GPA must be maintained throughout semester possible in 2014. Filing FASFA allows the student to be considered Carey offers several types of school student to aim for Scholarships, and Baptist for Pell Grant, State grants, scholarships. Over 90 perthe William Carey UniverStudent Scholarships. and/or work-study jobs. cent of our students receive sity Scholars Award. some type of financial asWilliam Carey offers acaWILLIAM CAREY JESSICA CLARK is an admissistance. I would personally demic, talent, athletic, UNIVERSITY SCHOLARS sions counselor at William Carey encourage every high Church-Related Vocation A 29 or higher ACT score College.
For the college-bound, early planning can ease nerves
an you picture a nerv1. What is college like? The best ous, uncertain, intimiway to know how something dated, incoming college tastes is to put it on your plate freshman? and try it yourself. College is the That was me, and it’s many same way. To know what the colothers every fall semester on a lege environment is like, no matcollege campus. ter your age, visit the campus. Anxiety and unease about Tour, talk with current students Emily Tucker starting college is not uncomand meet with college personnel mon. to ask questions. Every year, students step into new Itawamba Community College offers territory on a college campus and don’t student-guided campus tours. While on know where to turn for help, but that campus, future ICC students receive indoesn’t have to be the case for everyformation concerning admissions from one. an adviser and have the opportunity to So, what can make that sometimesvisit with campus departments of interdreaded transition to higher education est. smoother? The following information should 2. How will I pay for college? Some of assist prospective students with tackthe financial assistance options include ling some of the common issues federal and state grants, institutional whether they are a few months or a scholarships, work-study employment year away from their first semester of TURN TO ICC, 9C college.
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. . . n o i t a u d a r G MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2013
? E R E H T E B U O Y L WIL upms www.gear .org
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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2013
What do you want to be when you graduate?
id you know there are more than 100 different programs of study at the University of Mississippi? So, how do you select a major from all of those choices? • Figure yourself out: Seriously. Your career is going to be with you for the rest of your life. Mostly likely, you will spend the majority of adulthood doing what you study in college. Vera Chapman, adjunct professor and career planning specialist at the UM Career Center, said to remember that choosing a career always starts with the individual. “Even though there are
many people in Four years ago, your life who will the UM College of offer advice about Liberal Arts what you should launched its study, it is most “Choosing My important what Major” online adyou believe to be vising resource. You the best path for Misty Cowherd can find this at yourself,” Chaphttp://www.oleman said. miss.edu • Explore every re/libarts/majors/. source: Chapman sug“We are pleased that so gests beginning the many students have used self-exploration process this online tool, which is by visiting the Career a wonderful way to learn Center in order to take as- about our academic desessments like the Myers partments,” said Stephen Briggs or Strong Interest Monroe, assistant dean of Inventory. the college of liberal arts. “Once you’ve identified What should you not a few careers that seem to do when picking a major? fit you well, start gather• Worry about money to ing information about attend college: Nearly 80 each,” Chapman said. percent of Ole Miss stu-
‘Many graduate programs are open to diverse undergraduate majors – as long as you meet the necessary prerequisites. Graduate school can be an exciting opportunity to make a fresh start.’ Vera Chapman adjunct professor and career planning specialist dents receive financial aid from scholarships, grants or loans. Contact someone in the university’s financial aid office to find out more. • Worry about the money you’ll make after college: “Many students base their first choice off of their parents’ careers,” said Brian K. Smith, director of college counseling at Memphis University School. “Together, we help deter-
mine whether the student is truly making his own choice, one that builds on his strengths will fulfill him personally.” • Worry about changing your mind: At the beginning of college, some students may think they know the field they want to enter but change their mind. “Many graduate programs are open to diverse undergraduate majors – as long as you meet the
necessary prerequisites. Graduate school can be an exciting opportunity to make a fresh start,” Chapman said. There are both counselors and financial aid experts who can help you figure out your dream career. Visit the university website for details at www.olemiss.edu.
MISTY COWHERD is a communications specialist for University Communications.
ICC: Resources are available to help with transition FROM 7C
and loans. ICC offers ACT, academic, leadership and competition scholarships based on student performance. County tuition grants and an adult learner incentive scholarship are also available. Future ICC students may visit financial aid offices on both the Fulton and Tupelo campuses to obtain more information about applying for financial aid. 3. Can I succeed? Sure ... and here’s how. Academic advisers steer stu-
dents in the right direction to reach their academic and career goals. At ICC, advisers counsel students concerning program and graduation requirements and transfer options. Other services are available to aid students’ success, such as the Student Success and Writing Centers, which provide free tutoring and assistance.
cate is required. While preparing for college, you may feel as if you are in uncharted waters, but you are not alone. Many people and resources at ICC are available to help you with this important step in your academic career. Call (662) 862-8000 or (662) 620-5000 to take that first step.
4. How do I start? To be admitted, students must submit an admissions application and all official transcripts. A high school diploma or GED certifi-
EMILY TUCKER is a recruiter/adviser at Itawamba Community College, Fulton Campus. She is also the Indian Delegation adviser and teaches a College Life course.
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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2013
BMC urges prospects to start early on admissions process
t’s a mantra heard frequently among college and university recruiters, but Austin Kimbrough insists it is absolutely true. “The earlier the better,” says Kimbrough, interim admissions director at Blue Mountain College. “That is especially important when it comes to the financial aspect of attending college.” Kimbrough says that even though many students have gone through the admissions process and already enrolled in college, they sometimes are caught off-guard both negatively and positively on the financial end. “Sometimes there are some problems when all
the bills come due,” Kimbrough says, “but a lot of the time students are surprised to learn there are more opportunities for financial aid than they knew about. “That’s why it’s important for them to get with their high school counselors early about possible scholarships, and to work with those counselors and with the college financial aid advisors.” The Blue Mountain College Office of Admissions has a checklist for high school juniors and seniors, the Office of Financial Aid is also available for guidance. Kimbrough also emphasizes that students understand early on that college
‘College life can be the best time of their lives, but they need to learn to manage their time. When they do, they can cut out a lot of the stress and they can fully enjoy the college experience.’ Austin Kimbrough interim admissions director will be more demanding than high school. “At Blue Mountain, the academics are challenging and students need to de-
velop good study habits well before they get on campus,” he said. “Our faculty does a great job of working with and encour-
aging our students, but they’ve still got to do the work.” One issue prevalent on all college campuses is new
students learning to manage their time – and their freedom. “A lot of students aren’t prepared to handle that freedom now that they’re out of their homes for the first time,” Kimbrough says. “They don’t have anyone looking over their shoulder making sure they do their work, go to bed and take care of themselves. “College life can be the best time of their lives,” he says, “but they need to learn to manage their time. When they do, they can cut out a lot of the stress and they can fully enjoy the college experience.”
DANNY MCKENZIE works in the office of public relations at Blue Mountain College.
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COLLEGE PREP MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2013 |
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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2013
Student offers helpful hints for freshmen
s Student Government on your phone will help with Association president this. I also learned early on at Northeast Missisthat getting to class on time or sippi Community Coleven a little early helped the lege for the 2013-14 academic rest of my day to run year, I feel I have a responsibilsmoothly. It also eliminates ity to share some ‘insider tips’ dealing with that awkward sito our freshman and first-time Katelin Wallace lence that envelopes the room students that I think will be when the instructor stops lechelpful to them as they begin turing for what seems like fortheir ‘Northeast journey.’ ever before praising you for finding Come to think of it, college freshtime to join the group. men, regardless of where they are atWhen it comes to being a successtending school, are dealing with ful college student, being prepared many of the same anxieties and for your classes is very important. questions, so I believe these tips You must take what you need to apply to everyone making that 10class, which includes your homeminute dash across campus to the work (and your notes from the previnext class for the first time. ous class, your planner and/or cell As a freshman myself last year, I re- phone). alized from the very first day I should We all may be a little shy at first, take notes in class every day and be- but try to open up to new and differcome very organized with my work. ent experiences. You will enjoy your Using planners or just the calendar classes more if you interact with the
professor and get to know your classmates. You must realize instructors, counselors and other staff members are on hand to help you and most of your classmates are in the same boat you’re in so there’s no shame in asking for assistance. One of the biggest problems we college students face is time management. Try to prepare ahead whenever possible. College is a new start for most people so just have confidence in yourself and do your very best. Work hard, but meet some new friends and have fun along the way as well. Last but not least, make every moment a learning opportunity. After all, that’s what college is all about … learning about yourself and the world around you.
KATELIN WALLACE is the 2013-14 Student Government Association president.
College is a new start for most people so just have confidence in yourself and do your very best. Work hard, but meet some new friends and have fun along the way as well. Last but not least, make every moment a learning opportunity.
To the top: Student tour guide shares her Southern Miss story
t the beginimity to my homening of my town, I decided to senior year visit campus. in high Those were the school, I would’ve reasons I decided never predicted I’d to visit Southern wind up choosing Miss, but the reThe University of laxed family atmosElena Lofton Southern Missisphere and student sissippi. traditions made me I had my heart set on want to stay. somewhere else, and I was In high school, it was determined to go there. hard for me to envision But after a campus visit to what college would be like. the other school, I realized I imagined it would be just it wasn’t the place for me. four years of going to class. On a whim (and to get out But at Southern Miss, it’s of class for a little while), I pretty hard to just simply went to listen to the go to class and do nothing Southern Miss recruiter else. Southern Miss is speak. I wasn’t prepared to unique in that nearly be interested in what she everyone here values the had to say, but after hearbenefits of being involved ing about the scholarship in something outside the opportunities and its prox- classroom. With more
than 220 clubs and organizations, it’s hard not to find something that interests you. For me, getting involved transformed Southern Miss from my school to my home. I’m a student tour guide, and I meet students from all over the United States. I meet students who were like me almost four years ago – nervous about their college search – and I get to help them feel comfortable and confident about choosing Southern Miss. I let them know Southern Miss doesn’t want to change who they are – we welcome them as they are. Southern Miss is a place where ordinary people TURN TO SOUTHERN MISS, 13C
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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2013
Traditions of excellence run deep at MSU M The university offers ississippi and mathematics State an unparalleled Univerexperience in sity, with Mississippi 20, 161 students, is higher educaMississippi’s pretion. MSU is also mier research unia top 50 univerversity. It has been sity for the huSid Salter named a Top 100 manities, “best value” institution by according to data in a Forbes magazine and a 2013 report from the Natop 20 university for mili- tional Science Foundatary personnel and veter- tion. ans by the Military Times. The National Security Featuring the state’s only Agency and U.S. Cyber College of Veterinary Command have desigMedicine and School of nated MSU as a Center of Architecture, MSU also is Academic Excellence one of the top research (CAE) in cyber operainstitutions in the U.S., tions. The certification carrying the “very high comes after a rigorous, research activity” classifi- two-year application cation by the Carnegie process by faculty in the Foundation for the Addepartments of computer vancement of Teaching. science and engineering Mississippi State Uni(CSE) and electrical and versity offers students computer engineering seeking to advance their (ECE). Of note, the uniknowledge of science, versity also holds natechnology, engineering, tional CAE designations
in information assurance education and in information assurance research. Mississippi State is the only institution of higher education in the state to attain the three designations. The university offers nearly 175 programs leading to baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees. In addition to the veterinary medicine and architecture programs, MSU’s other academic colleges are Agriculture and Life Sciences; Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering; and Forest Resources. Recently, the ’s Mitchell Memorial Library became home to the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library. Learning communities play a major role at MSU, with the Shackouls Honors College enrolling
Southern Miss: Lofton thanks USM FROM 12C
come to do extraordinary things. And now as a junior in college, I’m about to leave the place that has taught me more about myself than I ever thought possible. While I was studying abroad through Southern Miss, I realized I wanted to help children and Spanish speakers, so I’m finishing up my Spanish major and applying to medical school. I’m ready to go out into the world and do good things, and I have Southern Miss to thank for that.
ELENA LOFTON is a junior majoring in Spanish at the The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.
I let them know Southern Miss doesn’t want to change who they are – we welcome them as they are. Southern Miss is a place where ordinary people come to do extraordinary things.
more than 1,000 and the Montgomery Leadership Program encouraging skills that turn students into world-class citizens. MSU also expands horizons for students through study abroad programs and, at the same time, brings global students into the Bulldog family through an active international education program. Above all, MSU serves all 82 Mississippi counties as part of the landgrant mission of learning, research and service.
SID SALTER is director of the Office of University Relations at Mississippi State University.
nearly 175 programs leading to baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees.
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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2013
Good strategies can improve ACT scores BY CHRIS KIEFFER DAILY JOURNAL
Taking the ACT or the SAT will be among the most important things collegebound juniors and seniors will do this year. Those tests are important factors used by admissions departments to determine which students are admitted and given scholarships. As stressful as the tests may be, test takers can improve their scores by knowing several helpful tips and strategies for taking the test. “They need to go in there prepared because a lot of scholarships will depend on the scores they will make in those four hours,” said Amanda Inman, who is teaching a “Preparing for
the ACT” course at Itawamba Community College’s Belden campus. Inman, a math teacher at Tupelo High School, focuses on the math and science tests, whileWanda Cox helps with English and reading skills. “They should come in prepared and knowing test strategies so they can show colleges what an outstanding student they are,” Inman added. Lynn McAlpin, who teaches an ACT prep class at the Learning Skills Center in Tupelo and also serves as a part-time math tutor at Itawamba Agricultural High School, said the skills learned in high school core classes are vital to success on the test. McAlpin
teaches math skills in the prep course, and Bonnie Webb teaches English and reading. The two of them split the science lessons. “We’ve studied the ACT and what it takes to do well, and we feel it is a curriculum-based test,” McAlpin said.“The more core classes you’ve had in high school, the better prepared you are.” Here are some tips offered by Inman and McAlpin: • Answer all of the questions. There is no penalty for guessing. • When guessing at the end of a test, pick one letter and guess that letter. McAlpin said that studying every test over the last 10 years revealed that each letter (A, B, C, D and E) was used
about the same amount of time. Therefore, students should pick the letter they’ve used the least. Inman recommended that students start guessing with three minutes left on the test. • Use process of elimination. Sometimes choices can be eliminated because of punctuation. • Questions on the math section get harder later in the test. Also, on the science test, the first two questions in each section are generally the easiest. • It is critical that students know how to use their calculator. • The more students read, the better they will do on the reading test. • When students register for the ACT, they can pay an extra fee to get a copy of their completed test sent to them. This copy will
show how a student answered the question and can be helpful as a student prepares to retake the test. • Get a good night’s sleep before the test. • Take the test more than once. • Bring a nutritious snack for the break. • Students need to take a picture ID with them to the testing center. • Students are now required to send a picture when registering. Pictures can be uploaded to the ACT website or sent by mail. Once students have had geometry, they should begin taking the test, either in ninth or 10th grade.They should take it no later than February of their junior year, McAlpin said. The prep class at ICC will
be offered on the Belden campus two Saturdays in October. A class on Oct. 5 will focus on English and reading and one on Oct. 19 will concentrate on math and science. Both will last from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and the $50 free includes lunch. To register, contact Becky Kelly at (662) 407-1500 or email@example.com. The class at the Learning Skills center begins five weeks before each of the national tests. The next one will start Sept. 24, McAlpin said. Classes are everyTuesday and Thursday night from 6:15 to 8:15 p.m. Call (662) 844-7327 to register. firstname.lastname@example.org
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COLLEGE PREP MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2013 |
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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2013
The growing business of college prep BY CAROLINE MCMILLAN THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Students, parents, teachers, and school counselors agree on this much: The college-admissions competition has reached a fever pitch. It also has created a new class of entrepreneurs: professionals who make their living by helping students navigate the frenzy. The concept isn’t new, but the scope of the industry is. Test-prep companies such as Princeton Review and Kaplan, which charge hundreds of dollars for SAT courses, work with thousands of students each year. But there’s a growing market for small businesses that tout more individualized services. The Independent Educational Consultants Association estimates there are 6,000 independent private counselors nationwide – up from about 1,300 in 2005 – and students are spending an estimated $400 million a year on their services. People offer a litany of pre-college services, from high-school academic planning and SAT tutoring, to help with college visits, application essays and merit scholarships. “You can be an excellent student, have a strong resume, and I think there’s still a lot of unpredictability about college admissions,” says Dr. Perry Almquist, a Charlotte, N.C., pediatrician and mother of three. “That causes a lot of anxiety for kids approaching college.” If you find a qualified professional who can ease that anxiety and better equip students for the admissions process, it’s worth the money spent, she says. For her children – Charlotte Latin School graduates who went on toWake Forest University and UNC Chapel
SELECTING A COLLEGE-PREP TUTOR BEFORE COMMITTING to a college-prep tutor or course, Dr. Lewis Kasparek recommends asking these questions: • In what fields are your degrees? Look for those with a master’s degree or doctorate. • What subjects will you be teaching? Be wary of tutors who say they can teach both English and math, Kasparek says. Few people have distinguished experience in both. • How many years of experience do you have teaching that subject in an academic setting? Look for people with at least 5 to 10 years of experience. • Can you provide references from the schools where you’ve worked? Hill – that investment was in Dr. Lewis Kasparek, who at 74 remains one of the most popular SAT prep teachers in the city. Kasparek, who goes by “Dr. K,” started teaching SAT prep in the mid-’80s. Working full-time as a humanities teacher at Charlotte Country Day School, Kasparek tutored students on the verbal section after school and during the summer. About 12 years ago, he made his side business, Academic Counseling and Educational Services, his full-time job. He says he’s nearly at full-capacity. This summer, he has worked side-by-side with students from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., spending another two hours in the evening helping students and parents over the phone. He says demand for his services and others’ has increased dramatically. Here’s one reason why: The population is growing. North Carolina’s population alone grew by more than 1.5 million people from 2000 to 2010, the fifth largest jump in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Because of the demands of the labor market, more people than ever are pursuing a post-secondary education. So even though there are thousands of universi-
ties, the fight for seats at the most prestigious schools has ramped up. UNC Chapel Hill, for example, accepted about 27 percent of its nearly 31,000 applicants last year. “The competition has gotten very wicked,” Kasparek says. “Probably 70 to 80 percent of kids whose parents can afford it are doing some kind of preparation.” And free resources are scant. In Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, budget cuts have resulted in fewer high school counselors and a higher student-to-counselor ratio. And whether you attend public or private school, some skills needed for the SAT or college applications aren’t being taught in schools, independent counselors argue. Kasparek says even brilliant students are sometimes stumped by the SAT because it’s a reasoning test, not a memorization game. Charlotte resident and New York native Ellen Martin started her small business, College Admissions 101, eight years ago, to help high school students in Charlotte and New York tackle their college admissions essays. She says many students TURN TO COLLEGE PREP, 18C
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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2013
College Prep: Cash opportunities involved with college prep has created unqualified tutors FROM 17C
aren’t used to writing in a narrative style. “The questions look intimidating,” she says. Students have to learn how to tell their stories, and Martin - a former psychologist helps them hone the skill. The same goes for students elsewhere. In addition to working with about 130 Charlotte-area students a year, students from New York, Bermuda and even Peru have flown to the city to study under Kasparek on their holiday breaks. That kind of demand is why college-prep training isn’t cheap. In just the last eight years, Kasparek’s hourly rate has gone from $85 to $125. Martin charges $120 an hour for help with essays. And Lee Bierer, a well-known area independent academic counselor and nationally syndicated columnist, charges $250 an hour for a la carte services and has package deals for $2,500, according to her website. But Kasparek says the “cash cow” of college prep has also brought a number of unqualified teachers to the marketplace. And with no accreditation for the profession, it’s not an easy problem to solve. Some trade associations, such as the Independent Educational Consultants Association, do require credentials. Organization spokeswoman Sarah Brachman says members have to have an advanced degree or comparable professional experience, three years of experience in educational placement counseling or admissions, a minimum number of campus visits and three professional references. Kasparek recommends that people hungry for college prep ask for similar credentials and that legitimate, experienced entrepreneurs tout theirs as well. “There are an awful lot of people taking
JEFF WILLHELM/CHARLOTTE OBSERVER/MCT
Dr. Lewis Kasparek, left, one of the area’s top SAT prep tutors, works with Charlotte Latin junior Emily Herron in Charlotte, N.C. The former Charlotte Country Day School teacher has been working with students since the 1980s and focused on his tutoring business full time 12 years ago. anything that pops up because they’re so hungry for help,” he says.“All (someone) has to do is tell people you can do it, and they’ll believe you can do it.” On the other hand, Kasparek says he’s taken and studied the verbal section of
Learning Skills Center
ACT PREPARATION CLASS September 24th - October 24th (Licensed Teachers) Remediation & Tutoring Services (K-Adult) • • • •
Elementary Reading/Language Arts & Math Reading Programs for Dyslexia Secondary English Secondary Math (High School & College Levels) (Licensed Teachers)
Assessment for Dyslexia, Autism, Learning Disabilities (Provided by a licensed School Psychologist)
every SAT for the last 30 years. His three part-time employees, two of whom focus solely on math, all have extensive experience with the subjects they teach. Their results, he says, speak for themselves. Kasparek has worked with more than
3,000 students in his tenure as a testprep tutor. Last year, he and his staff worked with 100. Twelve got perfect critical-reading scores, he said. Thirteen got perfect writing scores, and 10 got perfect scores in math.
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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2013
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