by Sophie McNeil Wolf with Courtney Ingle
Applying and planning for college can be hard. Deadlines, deposits, FAFSA, school visits – there is so much to consider.
Get2College, a program of the Woodward Hines Education Foundation, is on a mission to connect Mississippi high school students with a wealth of resources to help pay for and succeed in college – from college planning and searching, financial aid, ACT prep and resume writing.
“We not only help find resources, we help find a good match with college and program or degree,” said Melia Dicker, Director of Marketing and Communications for WHEF. “For example, if you want to go to cosmetology school, Ole Miss wouldn’t be a good fit because they don’t offer that program.”
Ann Hendrick, director of Get2College, is reminded daily that the work WHEF does is important to those they assist. “Almost every day when I answer the phone, I hear a student or parent asking questions and wonder where they would have gone for answers if they couldn’t call Get2College. Would they keep jumping over the barriers, or at some point would they give up? The processes are confusing and sometimes overly complicated.”
Hendrick points out that the admission process is most often a family affair. “Even parents who attended college often have questions about the admissions process, and all parents want information about how to pay for college.”
Campus visitation is another huge part of high school students searching out potential schools – and it is often one of the most important steps. Students who visit one or more campuses are more likely to go to college, says Dicker.
“They find themselves envisioning being there, and it starts to seem like a possibility.”
The costs of college can be overwhelming to students, especially sorting out a final price beyond published tuition and fees. Dicker said Get2College offers a “snapshot” of how much it can really cost.
“We break it down,” she says. “We look at tuition, housing, meal plans, but also entertainment such as Netflix or Hulu, car payments, oil changes, and how often you want a haircut and how much. It is very much a reality check for students.”
Dicker says that many times, students don’t realize the potential scholarships and grants that are available to them.
“There’s the HELP grant,” says Dicker. “The Higher Education Legislative Plan, that helps students with a financial need to pay for tuition for all four years of college.”
“Rotary clubs and Lions’ Clubs offer scholarships,” says Dicker. “We help students write their essays and learn interviewing skills for them.”
“Students just have to take the time to work with us,” Dicker says. “And they’re learning that just a half hour with us changes lives.”
Camp College, a Get2College bootcamp, will be hosted in June. For more information, visit Get2College.org or call the Jackson office at 601-321-5533.
The Jackson Get2College Center and the Woodward Hines Education Foundation are located at 2600 Lakeland Terrace in Lefleur East.