The Rocket Flame

Are You College-Ready?

It’s crunch time for the Class of 2019. Many seniors are in the midst of completing college applications toward their next step in education for the start of 2019-2020 school year. To lend a helping hand, James Buchanan’s College Ambassadors have organized workshops to help with any unanswered questions that students might have.

 

The first two workshops focused on the important topics of the FAFSA and The Common Application, which can both be crucial steps when applying to colleges.

 

“The college application process can be quite overwhelming,” said College Ambassador, Harley Rife (12). “These workshops don’t just provide answers to specific questions, but they also allow seniors to see how they can make the process less overwhelming.”

 

Ambassadors were split up into four groups to collect information and study up on various topics that they then would present to college-bound members of the student body.

 

“My group’s topic was on writing admissions essays, and I have learned a lot about what to write about and what colleges are looking for,” says Rife.

 

The student-to-student perspective is a change from just the average meetings with your assigned guidance counselor. This experience gives students a chance to interact with other classmates who can relate since they are going through the same process.

 

“Sometimes with the counselors, students feel like they have to ask questions, or that they have to take extra time from their school day to ask one simple question,” said Rife, ”So students are encouraged to ask College Ambassadors and other students their questions.”

 

The counselors, Mrs. Brenda Ford (Faculty), Mrs. Lynn Troutman (Faculty) and College Advisor Ms. Amy Violante (Faculty) help guide the ambassadors in the right direction to help other students.

 

“The support of Mrs. Troutman and Ms. Violante really motivated me,” said Rife. “So now we’re trying to spread the motivation.”

 

The final workshop will take place in Room 101 on Nov. 2 and will discuss interview and acceptance processes.

 

“I hope students gain knowledge of the topics, but, more importantly, encouragement,” says Rife. “Encouragement to do their best and try their best on all of their essays and applications.”

 

As time starts winding down to the beginning of the 2019 school year, the numerous applications and SAT’s will show their significance in the college application process.

 

“Everyone is capable,” says Rife. “It’s just a matter of putting in the time and getting the ball rolling.”

Getting a Head Start on College: Do Honors and AP Classes Help?

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For many high school students, getting as prepared as possible for college is a main priority. One way these eager JB students choose to stay ahead of the game is by taking Advanced Placement (AP) and Honors classes, as well as Penn State classes offered here.  

 

At James Buchanan they offer a wide variety of honors and Advanced Placement Courses including: AP Literature and Composition, AP Language and Composition, AP World History, AP Biology, AP Statistics, AP Calculus, AP Government,,  AP Chemistry, Honors Economics, Honors Anatomy, Honors Chemistry, Honors Science 9 and Honors Geometry.

 

The AP classes are taught in the same format as a college course, but rather than receiving college credits on your classroom grades, students have to take an Advanced Placement test to determine if they can receive college credit for the course.

 

The type of college credit one receives is all based on the test score. The test is out of five points and while a perfect five might get a student a full college credit for the course, most colleges accept at least a three to go towards your degree, even if it counts as an elective credit.  

 

In addition to getting a head start with advanced high school courses students also have the option to apply for an early-to-college program offered by Penn State Mont Alto. The courses consist of two classes per semester, and are taught in the morning prior to the school day from 7:15 to 8:45 on Mondays and Wednesdays.

 

The classes offer not only tuition reductions and technology fee coverage but allows the students to take courses dually with the highschool and also receive college credits for the class.

 

These classes place students in a real life example of college, consisting of not only one weekly in-person meeting, but an online aspect as well.

 

“The college classes (Penn State) prepare you for college by exposing you to a more rigorous curriculum than what you regularly experience in normal high school classes,“  said Isaac Miller (12), who participated in the early to college program this year.

 

Students see the positive side to getting a jump start to college, as well as the teachers.

 

“I think taking an AP class puts the student at a higher standard of learning,” said AP Language and Composition teacher Mrs. Jenna Sheaffer (Faculty).  “ You’re in charge of your learning and it [AP/ Honors classes] teaches you responsibility and organization that will help you with college-level courses in the future.”

 

No matter what your plans are after graduation, whether attending a four year college, two year college, or trade school, preparing for your future is a key focal point. AP classes help prepare you not only for future learning opportunities but gives you organizational skills that can be carried on to your future endeavors. High school is all about getting ready to go into the adult world. Like all things choosing a course that best fits you and your plans will be the key to success.

Get Knowledge About College

Preparing to go to college can be a scary and foreign thing for some students. There are many components to take into consideration when applying. For instance: “How am I going to pay for college?” or “How do I know this college is right for me?”

Do not be worried because the College Ambassadors have your back. The College Ambassadors are students at James Buchanan who can help you answer some of these questions and inform you about any options that are available to you.

 

“The college process can be very complicated,” said Ms. Amy Violante (Faculty). “It’s helpful for students to be able to turn to their peers about any questions they may have about financial aid or applications.”

 

The College Ambassadors plan events to inform about the college process even more thoroughly. Their biggest event is Decision Day, which celebrates the seniors at the end of the year. The event focuses on their next steps in life, whether it is going into the military, college, or straight into the workforce.

 

“Decision Day increases the college-going culture,” said Violante. “It’s nice for everyone to see what the seniors are going to do so you can get some ideas.”

 

Since the school year is coming to an end and the seniors are preparing to graduate, Violante selected a new group of juniors to represent the College Ambassadors. The new ambassadors consist of Kayla Noll-Bader (11), Aria Jewel Barnett (11), Alyssa Blair (11), Amber Clark (11), Madison Dorsey (11), Ella Jones (11), Mackenzie Layton (11), Cassidy Martin (11), Harley Rife (11), Owen Stoner (11), and Madison Shupp (11).

“I looked for students who had leadership experience and communication skills,” said Violante when describing the selection process of an Ambassador.

 

Before school on Thursdays roughly every other week, the Ambassadors will meet to discuss what they can do to help others gain knowledge about college and plan their events. During the most recent meeting, they talked about the expectations for College Ambassadors, benefits of being one,, possible activities, and goals of the program.

 

“My goal as a new Ambassador is to inform my classmates about the college process as best as possible,” said Jones.

 

If you have any questions regarding college applications, financial aid, anything else, the college ambassadors is the place to go to gain some knowledge.

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