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Middle School Isn’t Too Early

Many times when we are talking about the Crosby Scholars Program, we have some people that feel that middle school is too early. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, I want to take a moment to give reason to why middle school is the perfect time to start thinking about college.

Learning Yourself

Middle school academies are geared for students to learn themselves and how they interact with their environments. We talk about the different learning styles and students are able to find ways that work best for them. This is a time when emotions are high and hard to manage for students. In order for students to have a positive learning experience, they need to learn how to manage them.

Time for Responsibility

Students in middle school have one major task in order to be successful. Becoming responsible. Students in middle school have to learn to be responsible and to understand their schedules for school and their extracurricular activities. This is a major concept when it comes to being ready for high school and college; the earlier the better! We work with our students in middle school to become responsible for their learning.

Social Interactions

We work with all public schools in Iredell County. Our in person and online academies have been a chance for students to interact with students they probably would’t meet otherwise. We have seen so many friendships spark from academies and volunteer work. When students enter college they are likely to meet people from all over the country and even the world. Being in Crosby Scholars helps students get used to meeting new people and make new friends

College Talk

We do not want to overwhelm our students with the pressure to perform at college levels so young. We talk about careers and encourage them to expand their horizons. Our middle school college tours are to help students picture themselves on a college campus. Our goal for middle school students is to become the best version of themselves inside and outside of the classroom and also for them to be invested in their education.

If you have any questions about our middle school program please contact our Middle School Coordinator, Ashley Scott!


Crosby Scholars Academies

Throughout your time as a Crosby Scholar, you will continue to hear about the academy topics that we offer. Our personal enrichment and academic workshops are called academies and we strive to prepare topics that will prepare students for success.

The goal is to expose our students to an array of topics that will produce self-awareness, academic success, an acknowledgement of resources, and the ability to choose the right path after high school. So what are some of those topics?

  • Financial literacy
  • Time management
  • Study skills
  • ACT/SAT Prep
  • FAFSA completion
  • Essay writing
  • Scholarship searches
  • Mental health
  • Tips for success
  • Career exploration
  • Healthcare
  • Engineering
  • Perseverance

This list of topics does not cover all the ones we offer! We are constantly developing new topics so that our students are getting the best, most relevant information. Make sure you are logging into your Student Portal to register for an academy!


We all make mistakes but our mistakes do not define who we are.


“A smart man makes a mistake, learns from it and never makes that mistake again.” – Roy H. Williams


      We all make mistakes. But no matter what you mess up on, acknowledging your own errors in your work; you can still overcome your mistakes. Taking ownership of what happened and learning from them opens doors to progression.


       Don’t beat yourself down over something you did, we’re human. We are not perfect. Rather than looking at mistakes as a negative situation, look at them as opportunities for growth. What these opportunities are, are ultimately up to you, but they’re endless. Ask yourself, ‘what did I mess up on and how I can improve going forward?’

Here’s a few things to remember next time you make a mistake:


Resilience

Are you the type of person who gives up after failing the first time? Do you feel defeated when life doesn’t go your way? If you are easily numbed by setbacks and are unable to reach your goals, begin to reflect on the word resilience and why it’s important. Life will always throw you curve balls and disappointment is inevitable. How can we be better prepared?

By definition, resilience is the capacity to recover quickly after enduring difficulties in life. In order to be resilient, you must take an active role in protecting yourself from the negative effects of stressors. Developing the right behaviors and positive perspectives during times of hardship will enable you to bounce back more quickly.

Think about your life. Have you struggled with the loss of a relationship? Maybe someone close to you is no longer around. Maybe you fight mental illness or perhaps you made a decision last year to hang out with the wrong group of people and you have now become the worst version of yourself. I know what you’re probably thinking out loud…”some people may not have the tools to push through hardship, Ms. Montgomery. They might not have the mental capacity or the right support system.” Well, you’re right. Regardless of your personal situation, you have the decision to develop skills that will protect you when circumstances are tough.

  1. Accept what is and embrace change. I like to think of the word redirection. If your current strategy isn’t working, re-strategize. Know what you can control and what you can’t control in life.
  2. Build strong relationships. Invest in people that will invest back.
  3. Find your purpose in life.
  4.  Push in and through the problem instead of around it. Deal with the pain instead of suppressing it. You will recover more quickly.
  5. Don’t relive the event. This will not propel you forward.
  6. Overcome your fears. Push yourself to try things that scare you, like public speaking. This is having a growth mindset.
  7. Practice expressive writing. You will gain new insights.
  8. Be kind to yourself. Take care of yourself mentally and physically.
  9. Cultivate forgiveness if someone has wronged you.
  10. Practice meditation

When looking back on my own life, it’s helpful to identify seasons of growth. What happened during those times? Did I have a positive perspective and embrace change and new challenges? Yes. In times of hardship, how long did I stay in a broken place? How resilient was I during those times? Learn from past mistakes, press forward towards your goals, and strive to grow and learn daily.


Tips for a successful school year!

This school year will be like no other. Although COVID-19 has changed the school year for many students and teachers, we understand the transition to digital learning maybe difficult. We believe that every student has the chance to be successful and we are here to help make sure COVID-19 doesn’t stop that success. Here are a few tips we came up with to help you have a successful school year!

Remember, you got this! We’re all in this together.


Choose the Program, not the College

The college search and application process can be a difficult one to start without knowing what your first steps should be. Parents and high school seniors tend to feel overwhelmed before beginning the process because they don’t know where to start. Crosby Scholars exists to help ease the inevitable anxiety that joins students and parents!

Here is some important advice before writing down your target list of colleges- choose the program, not the school. If you get too hung up on the school name, you might make a terrible decision. For the most part, employers look for the degree you received. They care more about the degree than the school you attended. I have worked with many seniors who have an unwavering desire to attend a specific school. Well, that dream school doesn’t always have the program or major they would like to pursue and they still choose that school. Yes, the school you attend must be a good “match” (academically and financially) and a good “fit” (desired location, size, etc), but you shouldn’t base your decision solely on the school name. Our culture tends to tell us that labels matter. Well, they don’t. Tear off the labels.

 Some students are willing to go into major student loan debt because the school becomes more important than the degree. Approach this with a cost-benefit analysis. If you leave school with a debt you will struggle to ever pay back, reconsider the school you are choosing. Will the salary of your desired career enable you to pay it off in ten years? What is more important- claps for attending a school with a good reputation or a freedom from crippling school loans throughout your adulthood? Student loans ARE NOT BAD. I want to be clear about this. Make sure you are practicing SMART loan borrowing. Research, research, research! Does your dream school have the program you would like to pursue? Have you thought through the financial side of things? Do the pros outweigh the cons? Talk to several people you trust as you navigate this process.


Meet your new Middle School Coordinator!

Hi guys! My name is Ashley Scott, I’m your new Middle School Coordinator. I’m excited to join Crosby Scholars and I can’t wait to meet everyone. What attracted me to this position was that I would have the opportunity to help students prepare for college and give positive advice from my college experience. The Crosby Scholars program is important for students because they learn so many great things. Students become more involved in the community, their school and their studies. They are able to learn about the different options to pay for college and the many career paths.

I’m a North Carolina native and I graduated from Statesville High School, go Greyhounds! I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and my Master’s in Communication from Morehead State University.

In my free time I enjoy being outdoors, riding my dirt-bike, walking my dogs and playing basketball. So if anyone wants to play one-on-one, this is your official challenge. 🙂

My passion has always been to help and create a positive environment. I enjoy lending a helping hand wherever it is needed. I can’t wait to see how I can help contribute to Crosby Scholars and the amazing Middle School students.


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.


Community Service

One of our requirements for the program is for students to complete two hours of community service. Whenever I meet with middle school students I ask them what they think about when I say community service. Most students talk about picking up trash on the side of the road. While that isn’t wrong, I’d like for us to change the narrative on what students think about community service. I try to make sure they understand what it is, why it is important, and the different ways they can do community service.

Community service brings awareness to help needed from people around us. We hope to inspire our students to pursue their goals and dreams while also being individuals that can help better the community. Community service not only helps people in that moment but it creates opportunities for creative minds to make changes for the future. Community service can inspire a future engineer’s invention or a future legislator’s law. 

We understand that Covid-19 has put a damper on what we may traditionally think about for community service but there are several ways we can still help our communities safely. You can organize a clean up of an area and ask your friends and family to help out. There are many people that have volunteered to clean parks and communities to keep individuals safe.

There is a program that collects manufacturer’s coupons and sends them to our troops overseas. We called Coups for Troops and we had hundreds of coupons donated  from our students in the past couple years. You can also do that on your own! Here’s a link to more information.

Another way to help is to write letters to the residents in nursing homes. I’ve seen posts on social media asking for letters for their residents. How awesome would it be to have a pen pal? Many of them have the same interests as you; like sports, gardening, pets, singing, dancing, etc. I actually plan to do this myself. Think of the smile you’d put on someone’s face by showing you care!

There are plenty of websites that can give you ideas and will guide you on the different forms of community service you can do. No matter what you choose to do, remember that you are making a difference.


Why You Need Extracurricular Activities

During this early part of summer, I am meeting individually with some students from the class of 2021. I am their Senior Advisor. The purpose of our meetings is to see how ready each student is for the college application season.

I have to tell you that we have some excellent students in our Iredell school systems. Most of the students I’ve met with have an extremely high GPA. In fact, several were almost perfect 4.0 unweighted, or 4.5 and above on a weighted scale. These students also had outstanding ACT scores. I’d like to think that this level of talent only exists here in our county, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the case.

So what’s the point in telling you all this? The point is that these students all look very similar when looking at their “numbers”. When only .01 separates one GPA from another, it’s hard to say that one is a better college prospect than the other. It’s not uncommon for many students to have the exact same GPA upon high school graduation.

Test scores–did you know that scores 30-36 on the ACT represent the top 1%? So, all the students in that score range are in the 99th percentile. In other words, they scored better than 99% of the students who took the test in a given year. Can you say that a score of 32 is so much worse than a 35 when they are all so good? It’s hard to make that distinction.

How can a student get noticed in a group with thousands of great college applicants? The answer is extracurricular activities. What students do when they aren’t in school can make them stand out to an admissions officer. Here are a few tips to make your extracurricular activities work. (These same tips apply to scholarship applications.)


1. Find 2 or 3 activities that you enjoy and stick with them. Admissions officers don’t expect students to take part in 20 or 30 clubs, sports, or hobbies. In fact, they would rather see depth in participation instead of breadth.

2. How to get “depth”? Show growth in the activities you choose. Did you become a captain, officer, or committee chair? For these activities to be meaningful, you have to actually participate—not just join. And, being an officer doesn’t mean much if you can’t give examples of how you helped lead the organization.

3. Seek and accept leadership positions and then shine! Grow the group, plan new events, rally fellow students around a cause.


4. Make sure at least one of your activities involves community service. You’ll feel great about what you do to help. And you’ll learn more than you can imagine by volunteering.


5. If you need to work a part-time job, don’t sweat it. This is also an extracurricular activity. Admissions officers value strong students who work.

6. On your college application, be sure to rank your activities. List the best or most impressive ones at the top. If you don’t know which those are, ask your Crosby Scholars Senior Advisor, a parent, teacher, or friend. They will know!

Finally, summer is the perfect time to enjoy some extracurricular activities. If you are starting high school, find out what clubs your school has and make a plan to join at least one. If you’re an athlete, use your summertime to build your skills and abilities. If you like fine arts, learn a new dance, painting technique, monologue, or new instrument. Keep a growth mindset and enjoy your summer.