Countdown to College offers admission and scholarship tips

Published 3:14 pm Wednesday, April 12, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Getting good grades and doing well on the ACT are major keys to getting into state colleges and receiving merit based scholarships, according to Potential Magazine’s Countdown to College.

The college workshop came to Chilton County on April 11 through a partnership with Chilton County Schools.

The panel included Shaw Cornelius of Auburn University at Montgomery, Jared Twitty of The University of Alabama, Kelly Martin of Jacksonville State University, Jacob Call of Jefferson State Community College Chilton- Clanton, Curtis Cunningham of University of West Alabama and Candice Brooks of Auburn University.

Pam Mashburn of Potential Magazine said the ACT “is your golden ticket to money.”

Each of the college’s represented give merit scholarships based on ACT score. Mashburn said there are several resources for “cracking the code” of the ACT and getting a good score. She said for many students knowing the material is not the issue, but completing the questions in the time given is what is challenging. Mashburn encouraged students to take practice ACTs to determine the types of questions they are struggling with.

Scholarships have different deadlines at different schools.

Private scholarships are often offered from businesses and civic organizations. Mashburn said the greatest asset for finding out about these is school career counselors.

Many colleges have rolling admission. However, some do have deadlines for application. Colleges look at a student’s cumulative GPA from ninth to 11th grade when considering application.

Campus tours were emphasized as an important part of selecting a college. Mashburn said it is important to evaluate a college after a visit, not just while on “the glamorous tour.”

Many of the colleges had minimum ACT and GPA requirements. However, some colleges may grant students conditional enrollment if they do not meet the minimum academic requirements.

Call said Jefferson State is an open enrollment college, and the only requirement is a high school diploma.

Mashburn said some private colleges and universities may require an interview as part of the application process.

Cunningham encouraged students to take a campus tour “as early as you like” and “take more than one campus tour.”

He suggested taking the first campus tour as a sophomore and then another closer to graduation because what a student wants in a college may have changed in that time.

Twitty said even if a student knows the university they want to attend, a college recruiter can help them navigate the admissions process, and let them know about scholarship opportunities, internships.

Some recruiters also sit on scholarship committees.

“A student that we know and we know that student is a go getter and gets good grades and they have a high interest in the university, they are going to stand a better chance of getting the scholarship than someone we don’t know or someone who never reached out to us,” Martin said.

Brooks said the recruiter is also a resource to help prospective students figure out what to do if there are sudden changes in a student’s financial situation.

Jacksonville State, University of Alabama and the University of West Alabama require freshman to live on campus.

Visit For more tips on preparing for college.