Posted on Thursday, August 7, 2014

VCCS BlogFor many teens whose high school experience is suddenly clearly visible in their rear view mirror, the way forward requires a thoughtful and deliberate decision-making process. After all, their future depends upon it.

So, what’s an aspiring college student to do?

Fortunately, rising high school juniors and seniors in Wise, Lee and Scott Counties have just the thing to help them make the transition from adolescence to adulthood – College Boot Camp.

In late July, more than two dozen students from southwest Virginia – many of them low-income or first-generation college students – gathered at Mountain Empire Community College to learn about college admissions requirements, college entrance testing, financial literacy, scholarships,  financial aid, career choices, and academic success.

Program Director Gena Massey says the “boot camp” idea sprung from a desire to educate students, not recruit them.

“We wanted students to realize that the first year of college isn’t grade 13. Sometimes, students do not have realistic expectations of college and that can impact their future success.”

Those expectations run the gambit, from understanding the nature of a course syllabus to completing assignments in a timely fashion.

“College professors treat their students like adults,” Massey says. “Students are expected to take charge of their academic success. And students are sometimes not prepared for the pace of college coursework.”

During the boot camp, the students learned about financial literacy and financial aid, heard presentations from college counselors and took part in mock lectures. 

“It’s definitely a change from high school” said Lee High Student Holly Merriam. “There is more responsibility and you have to rely on yourself.”'

Craig Butterworth

A native of Richmond, Craig Butterworth is an award-winning broadcast journalist and communications professional. He has worked as a spokesperson, staff writer and editor for a variety of non-profit and for-profit organizations throughout the Richmond area.

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