Category: Jenniffer Jamison’s Blog Posts

Jenniffer Jamison, Senior Program Coordinator, shares her thoughts on hot topics, common questions, and all things college.

Be S.M.A.R.T. when searching the internet.

I just finished attending a staff meeting with the team at Crosby Scholars Iredell County.  We were discussing the appropriate curriculum and ways to get key information to students and parents in our program.  In this COVID, Pandemic world we live in, more people are looking to the internet for information.  Any kind of information. 

How do I bring out the curls in my hair?  How do I apply makeup to look skinny?  Top 10 ways to learn virtually?  How to write the best essay to get you into all Ivy League schools?  You know what I am talking about, you each have gone to that much-loved search bar and typed in a question and been directed to a list of resources.

What you do next is sometimes a game changer.  Do you click on the first 5 on the list?  Have you noticed that those sometimes have the word (AD or Advertisement) in the line?  This means they paid to be in this spot and just because they come up first does not necessarily mean it is the most accurate or relevant information.  Here are a few tips to help you make sure the information you find actually provides accurate information. (I am going to gear my remarks towards college access.)

Source Check

  1.  Check the Source – Who is providing the information?  Is it a reputable organization, like Crosby Scholars? What experience does the writer or site have in the realm of your search?  Visit their website without going through the link and see what they are all about.  There are also sites like SNOPES.com; truthorfiction.com; factcheck.org you can use to check the validity of a claim.

Marketing is Everywhere

2. What are they selling?  – EVERYONE is SELLING SOMETHING!  YouTube channels want you to subscribe, you might have to watch advertisements until that lovely SKIP ADS button appears.  Most businesses are sharing information to push you to purchase or investment.  While Crosby Scholars is a free program, we want you to use our services or become a participant.  We never charge a fee for our academies, information, or participation.  Many websites have fees, they will tease you with a video or article about the best way to do something, but if you really want the knowledge you can, 1 share your personal information or 2 pay a small fee to get access to what is next.  Proceed with caution!

I want to be clear!  There are LOTS of reputable organizations offering services that are reasonably priced with good outcomes.  With my Non-Profit Hat on – I would like you to search for FREE resources.  I bet you can find the information, skills, knowledge you are looking for at no cost to you.

Avoid Expired Information

3. Check the Date – Is the information provided current?  Things change sometimes by the minute.  Information about COVID 19 from March is really not relevant any longer.  So many things have changed and so much has been learned that videos, articles, papers are really out of date.  If you are researching a history project that dates thing might not be as important but as for College Access information, this is a moving target right now and you want to find the most recent info.

Research for your specific circumstance

4. Go Straight to the School’s Website – So many organizations and groups want to be the end all be all for college access information.  At the end of the day most of the people giving you advice, or information are providing that information in general terms.  If you want to know SPECIFICS, go straight to the horse’s mouth.  Example:  A recent news program shared a video that spoke to the ability to haggle with schools over the cost of tuition.  They shared 2 student’s stories.  If you watched that and you do not understand the specifics that went into that student’s outcome, you might be really frustrated with your outcome in a similar attempt.  Example:  Financial Aid questions about your specific situation should be addressed to your school’s financial aid office.  They know what they are looking for and you can get your answer directly.

Tears are NOT Necessary

5. Keep an Open Mind – I read A LOT of content about College Admissions, Test Prep, Financial Aid, etc.  Because I am looking through my filter of helping many different students in different situations, it is easier for me to objectively review the information and not get upset or take it personally.  While keeping an open mind, understand the audience, don’t automatically give up because someone said on YouTube that they did not get into a school because of a test score.  Don’t be discouraged, don’t give up!  Make a list of things that you question and dig deeper into the topic.  Example:  Talking about the cost of college and scholarships and federal aid.  You might start your search with high-level general information, but then dig deeper by going to Net Price Calculators at the schools’ websites and visit the studentaid.gov site to get your questions answered. 

In this very VIRTUAL world we are working in, be SMART about how you find your information.  Check the source, don’t buy what they are selling, check the date, dig deeper at organizations’ sties and KEEP AN OPEN MIND!


Interview with College Admissions Officers

As the Senior Program Coordinator with Crosby Scholars Iredell County, I get a lot of questions from students about the college application process.  Most of the time students and parents want me to get my crystal ball out and answer questions, that usually have the same answer… “It depends on the school”, “Schools handle that differently”, my favorite “You will need to check with the school or institution to see what they say.”  People might think I am passing the buck and/or too chicken to answer the questions.  I assure you that this is NOT the case.  Example:  Will my kid get into school Fill in Name if they have a 3.8 GPA and a 21 on their ACT.  Guess what the answer is…I DON’T KNOW.

Unfortunately, there is no crystal ball.  Each class year is different, you never know what circumstances might affect a decision and just because a student got in last year with those scores, does not mean they would get in this year.  The list of things that can affect the decision is a mile long. 

I would like you to put yourself in the shoes of the college admissions officers out there.  Imagine you have 1,000 seats to fill and you receive 100,000 applications.  Now we know this is an exaggeration, but you get the point.  These admissions teams want to do what is best for the school, students, families, and everyone. 

The college application process is hard enough, now add a global pandemic and the cancelation of every type of test used to help make placement decisions.  Students and parents are worried, counselors are frustrated, and schools are again trying to do what is right. 

I recently reached out to a group of College Admissions Officers and asked if they would be willing to answer a few questions.  I picked the questions based on what I get several times a day.  I would like to thank Appalachian State University, North Carolina State University, Southwestern University, SUNY Maritime College, and UNC Asheville for taking the time to answer these questions for our students.

Most schools agreed that students should use every available resource to reach out and learn about their campus, programs, and opportunities. Some schools are even offering one on one zoom sessions and UNCA is offering in-person tours by appointment only.

Deciding when to apply can be a struggle. If you are interested in applying for financial aid, honors, or scholarships, I suggest you apply early. Again, check with your school to determine application deadlines and details.

The schools we talked to are test-optional for college admission applications. Be sure to understand if you will have to submit scores for Honors programs, Merit Scholarships, or athletic participation.

Be sure to understand your schools test policy and school specific process.

These admissions officers offer some great advice for our class of 2021 applicants.

Remember to visit your school’s website for up to date information.

Special thanks to the following colleges and people who participated in our survey. Also, a special thank you to App State, NC State, and UNC Asheville for participating in a Zoom Q&A session with our Crosby Scholars in Iredell County.

Appalachian State University – Elena Taylor, Associate Director of Admissions

North Carolina State – Frankie Miller, Admissions Counselor

Southwestern University – Christine Bowman, Dean of Admission and Enrollment Services

SUNY Maritime College – Carlos Cano, Assistant Director of Admissions for Communications

University of North Carolina Asheville – Savannah Purdy, Admissions Counselor


Covid or College: Do I Have to Choose?

So many things in our world have changed in the last 3 months and it IS extremely overwhelming.  Last year my conversations with students and parents were centered around what to bring to college, understanding changes to parent student relationships with FERPA and enjoying the excitement of the new year through Facebook and Instagram posts. 

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Today the conversation is DIFFERENT!  Students and Parents are asking should I still go to college?  What is the value if everything is going online?  What options do I have?  Do I still need to pay the full price of school and dorms?  The thought of students paying a premium to stream classes was very creatively displayed in this Facebook post.

First, I want to remind you…There is value to education.  While the image is funny, we realize it is not really a true comparison.  Colleges and Universities are planning to provide in person, online or some hybrid of education and there is a cost and a value to that education.  If you thought so last year while you were applying, that should not have changed.

What might have changed is your financial situation and sensitivity to the cost vs value proposition.  Your family finances will definitely impact your decisions, but you should reach out to your school and explain your situation and see what is available.  Each school is managing financial aid requests separately. 

Recent High School Graduates started a very grueling application process.  Blood, sweat and tears, YES tears, went into a large majority of these students’ efforts to get accepted into the school of their choice.  Then COVID hit and they had to decide pretty early what they were going to do in the fall.  Some students changed their plans about going out of state or far away from home, some decided to stick with their initial plan.

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The choices were tough but were made. Now we are seeing a surge in cases and colleges are sending out invoices for the fall semester not only including the cost of a dorm room but requiring contracts signed from families stating that refunds would not be given if college campus has to close.  Now families are second guessing their May decisions, campuses are scurrying to provide information that is sometimes only good for a few hours. 

Everyone is asking WHAT SHOULD I DO? 

  • Don’t make hasty decisions – You spent 6 months or more researching schools, completing applications and then deciding on an institution to attend.  Be sure you review your choices and understand your ultimate educational goals.  If you change now, what are the implications on future options. 
  • Read EVERYTHING VERY CAREFULLY- There is A LOT of information on each school’s website.  Before making or changing any decisions, be sure you understand every aspect of the decision.
    • Find options or choices that work for your student
    • Understand deadlines for changes
    • Understand cost or fees associated with changes
    • READ – READ and then GO Listen to the volume of video communication about all of it available on YouTube. (Don’t believe me, type in your school’s name and 2020 and up will pop short videos about managing ever-changing campus life.
  • Communicate with your school – If you have researched all available information and still have questions, reach out to admissions, student services, and financial aid to address specific circumstances of your family.  Some schools have resources that might be able to help you overcome a change in plans. 
  • Be careful what you sign!  – Schools are pushing more documents than ever before.  Make sure your student reads or at least forwards the email to you to read before they agree.  Examples of documents:
    • COVID prompted and changed the housing agreement
    • Tuition agreements
    • Code of conduct – Check out the level of detail in behavior they are asking students to sign.  UMass Code of Conduct
  • Be confident in your decision – Once you have worked through all of the issues, stand firm in your plan, work to support your student as they begin the year.  The stress associated with this transition is big enough but when you add COVID, that multiplies.  Make a plan and check-in. 

So, yes YOU WILL HAVE TO CHOOSE!  But this is not an either-or proposition.  Ultimately, you have to do what is right for you and your family.  Consider learning styles, location, safety, cost, and family.  Luckily there are so many pathways to education and you have options.  You don’t have to choose COVID or COLLEGE. 

In closing I will say that you also need to CHOOSE to be a member of the community and take steps to ensure your health and well-being and that of your community.  CHOOSE to be SMART.


..And it begins!

Today marks the beginning of the Iredell Crosby Weekly Blog. It really only marks the official beginning of the written blog on our website. I don’t know about you, but I have been writing a blog in my head for years. Have you ever been in a dental or medical office waiting room and someone is on their phone having a conversation about whatever? You know what I am talking about. Depending on the topic of discussion and the opinions being shared really impacts the length of the blog in my head.

Example – “My kid is a straight A student about to apply for college and we anticipate we will be getting so many scholarships for his grades.” I could go on a good 30 minutes on that topic.

Then there are all of those Social Media Articles that are shared, sometimes without a thorough read and always including so many advertisements that you really don’t know what you are reading. You know the ones I am talking about. Always have a title that is a little confusing or controversial, and you are not really sure where the writer is going to land.

My favorite blogs to write in my head are to my kids. How many times have you said the same thing to your kid and they have brushed it off? Then one day another parent, adult or friend says the same thing and your child looks at you like…”Why didn’t YOU tell me about that!” (Insert Eye Roll)
Over the past 5 years Iredell County Crosby Scholars has shared articles and resources on our website in the hopes of providing valuable and helpful information. Our blog will be an addition to the other resources available on our website.

There are thousands of blogs on the internet about multitude of subjects. Today marks the beginning of the Crosby Blog. According to dictionary.com the word blog can be a noun or a verb.

Let’s get to the heart of what you want to know, your key questions: Who, What, Where, Why, When & How

So mark your calendar for Thursday mornings. Tell us what you think and if there is a topic that you would like us to cover, let us know. Also, share this with your friends or family that might be interested. Until next time.