Posted: Friday, August 23, 2013

Miss South Carolina Encourages High School Students to “Go Higher”Miss South Carolina Encourages High School Students to “Go Higher”

Miss South Carolina Brooke Mosteller recently addressed Greenville County Schools’ high school counselors with the message, “Go Higher,” an effort to encourage more high school students to pursue a college education.

“When I was in high school I found the college application process to be somewhat complicated,” she explained. "As a junior at Furman University, my mother (a former member of the Commission on Higher Education) and I brainstormed ways to make the process easier.  The end result was the development of the program, ‘Go Higher,’ and the implementation of College Application Days at high schools across the state,” she explained.

College Application Day lets students and parents know that college can be a reality. The school events provide answers to many questions asked by high school seniors, such as where to apply, which tests are needed to be accepted into college, which types of financial aid are available, and what additional materials should be sent with the application.  The program is supported by the Commission on Higher Education and SC CAN GO , a campaign to promote college access in South Carolina.

College Application Day began four years ago in 10 schools and today is used in nearly 170 schools across South Carolina. Greenville County Schools was the first district in South Carolina to implement this program in all 14 of its high schools.

“Going to college is the key message throughout the school on College Application Day,” said Rob Rhodes, Director of School Counseling Services and Sirrine Scholarships for Greenville County Schools. “Applying early in the fall of the senior year is essential to earning early acceptance, receiving valuable feedback, and increasing communication between the college and the student prior to their freshman year. Procrastination can result in lost opportunities for admission, financial assistance and on-going guidance. Our goal is to build a college-going culture. We want to eliminate myths and barriers while increasing college access through heightened awareness.”

Brooke, who is studying law at the University of South Carolina, said the key to the program’s success is to get teachers, school counselors, and college volunteers actively involved in answering students’ questions about college. “My tennis coach at Furman got on board and sent the entire team to volunteer the first year. I wore my Furman Tennis t-shirt, and it was a great conversation starter about college life,” she said. She added that teachers and others involved during College Application Day also wear their college shirts and display college banners outside their classrooms.

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