Admission Day helps put dreams within reach

Photo by Sue Suchyta
Taylor Truman High School seniors Re’Shae Sneed (left), Sydney Honaker, Zachary Bloss and Kojo Owusu wait to meet with admission representatives from some of the 16 colleges represented onsite. Ten additional college admission representatives took part in the onsite admission process on other days.

‘If you don’t do this stuff, you have to rely on the kids adventuring out for themselves to seek these colleges, we lose track of them. Here we have every kid charted. We get probably 95 percent of our college applications taken care of today.’
— Jerry Abraham

Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR – At Truman High School, bringing college admission representatives onsite to meet with seniors brings the dream of college closer to reality for many students.

Counselor Kim Wozny said College Onsite Admission Day, held this year on Oct. 16, offers a chance for Truman High School seniors to sit down with representatives from different colleges to find out which schools might accept them and how much financial aid they could receive.

Representatives from 16 area colleges met with students and other college representatives plan to visit Truman soon.

The event included Baker College, Concordia University, Eastern Michigan University, Henry Ford Community College, Lawrence Technological University, Madonna University, Oakland University, and others.

Truman plans to host admission representative visits from Michigan State and Central Michigan Universities in upcoming weeks.

The event helps high school seniors overcome college application procrastination, Wozny said. In addition to meeting with seniors several times in September, Truman counselors set an application submission deadline of Oct. 12 for seniors to be eligible to attend Onsite, so counselors could submit student applications to colleges not represented at Onsite earlier.

About 200 of Truman High School’s 250 seniors participated in Onsite, Wozny said.

Students who might not otherwise apply for college become more aware of their educational opportunities by sitting down and discussing programs with community college admission representations, Wozny added.

When students meet one-on-one with college admission representatives at Onsite, they bring with them high school grade transcripts, American College Test scores and optional application essays, personal narratives or letters of recommendation from counselors or teachers, Wozny said.

Re’Shae Sneed, 17, said her personal narrative, a written essay, made a positive difference during the college application process.

Her mother died this past year of an apparent heart attack, and Sneed discovered her. Writing about her loss and how she found inner strength helped Sneed explain her past year to college admission representatives and helped counteract her low ACT score.

“Onsite should be available to all students,” Sneed said. “I’m very thankful for it.”

Wozny agreed that Onsite sometimes presents new opportunities to students. She said one girl who was wait-listed by the University of Michigan received a full scholarship to Wayne State University in the interim, where she subsequently enrolled.

“Any time a kid gets accepted and they come in and they tell us, it’s just such an awesome day, such an awesome experience,” Wozny said.

She said quite a few of her students may be the first one in their family to go to college.

Sudents, she said, are aware of the economic challenges they face; and the difficulty of getting jobs without education.

“Teenagers don’t get jobs like we used to, because the adults that are laid off are getting the jobs at MacDonald’s and the grocery stores and things like that,” Wozny said. “They’re fully aware of what’s happening.”

Onsite has been held for about 10 years, counselor Jerry Abraham said.

Abraham said Onsite takes a lot of pressure off students by giving directing them more choices and scholarships.

“I think that’s one of the nicest things that we do here,” Abraham said. “What we try to do is encourage all of the seniors to participate in some way, shape or form, regardless of if they thought they were college-bound or not.”

Zachary Bloss, 17, who would like to become a doctor, agrees.

“It’s definitely one of the greatest things Truman does,” Bloss said. “The teachers want you to be at Onsite, they want you to be accepted and they want you to get scholarships.”

Abraham said they also bring in representatives from trade schools, beauty institutes, vocational schools and community colleges.

“We’ve encouraged a lot of kids here today to apply to schools and to at least meet with reps,” Abraham said. “We approach it like it’s going to be like a job interview… and tell them just how important it really is.”

Teacher Rosalind Lojewski said it is important to get students accepted earlier by a school so they can start applying sooner for scholarships.

Lojewski said students also find that scholarships allow them to go directly to a four-year school instead of trying to save money by first attending a two-year community college.

High school senior Sydney Honaker, 17, said Onsite offers students a great advantage by letting them know early what college they are attending, what scholarships are available.

“It helps you plan so you’re not scrambling at the last minute, before graduation,” Honaker said.

Abraham added that the program allows the staff to keep track of their students future plans.

“If you don’t do this stuff, you have to rely on the kids adventuring out for themselves to seek these colleges, we lose track of them,” Abraham said. “Here we have every kid charted. We get probably 95 percent of our college applications taken care of today.”

High school senior Osiris Smith, 17, said Onsite helps students like him earn acceptance to college and achieve, and go on to get a good career, instead of just having a job.

“To do something that they love, and to build more knowledge (is) a wonderful thing to be a part of,” Smith said, “Because you know where you stand… you have a likely chance of going somewhere with your life.”