Focus on success: THS seniors apply for college

Application fees waived for one week
Nov. 27, 2012 @ 06:29 PM

When Deboy Beamon became principal at Thomasville High School four years ago, one of his primary goals centered around the preparation of students for life after graduation.
As THS assistant principal, Beamon saw that many students were content with simply graduating, and were not focused on college, the military or developing a skill or trade. In this global economy, Beamon said his students need to want more if they're to succeed in life after high school. 
"That was one of the things I wanted to attack," Beamon said. "Parents even said as long as their child graduated they were happy. That's not good enough anymore, to just just graduate high school. It's competitive out there and you need more than a high school diploma. You need skills and a higher degree than high school. That has been my push is to have them have a plan before June 9."
College Application Week provided Beamon the perfect forum to initiate his plan. Every THS senior applied to at least three colleges during College Application Week, when application fees were waived to a large number of state schools, including University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.
"It's not an option," said Beamon. "What we've found is a lot of kids had the grade point average but weren't being steered that way. They didn't know how to go about it and what were the steps. I want them to have a plan before they leave here and not wait until graduation before deciding what to do next."
Karen Harris, THS senior counselor, prepared students for the free week of college applications by offering different seminars on how to navigate the process. Students learned how to write college application essays and to identity what school is right for them. Counselors were on hand in the computer lab to help answer any questions students had while filling out their applications online. Harris provided students with a list of college admission requirements such as SAT and ACT scores and grade point average.
"It's a great opportunity for the students," Harris said. "We tried to give them all the information they needed to help them make informed choices. It really was a school-wide effort. We had teachers talking to the kids about their own experiences and what college did for them."
THS senior Marlon Tuttle wants to attend UNC-Chapel Hill but used the free application week to explore other options. Tuttle, who plans on majoring in sports management, applied to East Carolina, NCSU and Queens University of Charlotte. 
"I many not end up going [to Chapel Hill] but I'm going to apply," said Tuttle. "It's free so it won't hurt to apply. This really helps for students who don't have computers or the Internet at home."
In October, THS held a military day where recruiters visited the campus to talk to students. Starting in February, Beamon said financial aid workshops will be offered to students and parents.
"Once you get in, now we worry about how to pay for it," Beamon said. "A lot of our kids qualify for grants and we want to see them take advantage of that."
Harris said the average college application costs around $60 per school.

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or duke@tvilletimes.com.