Category: Uncategorized

Frustrated With FAFSA Delays?

Delays and glitches with this year’s new FAFSA roll out have caused enormous frustration for students and parents seeking financial aid for the 2024-2025 school year.

“The already stressful college admissions process was thrown into chaos this year by a botched bureaucratic upgrade,” reads an April 6 CNN report, which refers to the roll out as a fiasco. “Hiccups and delays in the federal financial aid process have kept some high school seniors and current college students from getting aid packages from schools.” 

Knowing the final cost is, obviously, essential to choosing a college, making financial decisions and determining living arrangements. Many feel that they’ve been left in a state of limbo.

Delays and glitches with the new form have also reduced FAFSA submissions. As of April 1, the National College Attainment Network reported that just 35% of high school seniors had submitted a FAFSA. That’s down 27% nationally and 24% in North Carolina, versus last year.

So, what should you do? 

Here are some suggestions that might help you navigate this unusual year in the world of financial aid.

  1. Create your FAFSA account as soon as possible. This way, your application can be verified more quickly and further delays can be avoided.
  2. Stay connected with the latest updates and resources. Our Iredell County Crosby Scholars FAFSA Information page offers a variety of resources. Other organizations to follow include:
    1. NC FAFSA Hub
    2. National College Attainment Network 
    3. Federal Student Aid (via Instagram)
  3. Check the acceptance deadline for your college of choice. Due to FAFSA delays, many colleges have extended their “decision day” from the traditional May 1, but others have not. 

Need in-person help?

Mitchell Community College provides FAFSA Completion Events, hosted by the Financial Aid Department, every Tuesday from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. in the Eason Student Services Building, Room 105. Students should create a studentaid.gov account if they do not already have one by visiting  studentaid.gov/create-account. For more information on planning your visit, click here

And finally…

Remember that you aren’t alone. Parents and students nationwide are facing the same FAFSA challenges. Colleges and universities are aware and are making adjustments. Plus, numerous issues with the new form have already been addressed.

Remember, Crosby Scholars staff is available to help answer any questions you might have as well.  Feel free to reach out to Jen Jamison, Jr/Sr Program Manager and Dominic Jones, Financial Aid Coordinator.

In the meantime, do all that you can to prepare for next steps. You’ll be ready to react and take control when the time comes.

Hopefully, that time will come sooner than later. 


Making the Most of Winter Break: A High School Student’s Guide to Productivity & Relaxation

Winter break is finally here, and it’s the perfect time for high school students to recharge, reflect, and prepare for the challenges ahead. While it’s crucial to enjoy some well-deserved downtime, making the most of your winter break can set you up for success in the coming semester. In this blog post, we’ll explore a balanced approach to winter break that combines productivity and relaxation.

1. Reflect and Set Goals:

Take some time to reflect on the past semester. What were your successes and challenges? Use this reflection to set realistic goals for the upcoming semester. Whether it’s improving study habits, participating in extracurricular activities, or enhancing personal skills, having clear goals will give you direction and motivation.

2. Develop a Study Plan:

While winter break is a time to relax, it’s also an opportunity to get ahead academically. Consider creating a study plan to review and reinforce the knowledge you’ve gained so far. Focus on subjects where you feel less confident, and use resources such as textbooks, online tutorials, or educational apps to enhance your understanding.

3. Pursue Personal Projects:

Winter break is an excellent time to explore personal interests and hobbies. Whether it’s writing, coding, painting, or learning a musical instrument, use this break to dive into a passion project. Not only does this provide a creative outlet, but it also helps you develop valuable skills beyond the classroom.

4. Volunteer and Give Back:

Consider dedicating some time to community service or volunteering during the break. Helping others not only makes a positive impact on your community but also fosters personal growth and a sense of responsibility. Look for local organizations, charities, or community events that align with your interests.

5. Explore College and Career Options:

For juniors and seniors, winter break is an opportune time to explore college and career options. Research potential colleges, attend virtual campus tours, and investigate different career paths. Reach out to professionals in fields you find interesting for informational interviews. This exploration will help you make informed decisions about your future.

6. Relax and Recharge:

While productivity is essential, don’t forget to prioritize relaxation. Use this break to catch up on sleep, spend quality time with family and friends, and engage in activities that bring you joy. Balance is key to maintaining mental and emotional well-being.

Conclusion:

Winter break is a valuable time for high school students to strike a balance between productivity and relaxation. By reflecting on the past, setting goals for the future, pursuing personal interests, giving back to the community, exploring future opportunities, and taking time to relax, you’ll return to school in the new year feeling refreshed, motivated, and ready to tackle the challenges ahead. Enjoy your break!


5 Tips to Improve Your Art Portfolio

What makes a successful art portfolio? The answer to this question may vary depending on who you ask, but within the context of college admissions, there are a few key elements that most art programs look for.

Demonstrate your drawing abilities.

As a creative, a basic understanding of drawing will serve you well regardless of your desired career path. In fact, many art programs recommend applicants include at least one drawing in their portfolios, illustrating the ability to depict the world on paper realistically or imaginatively. 

Emphasize your skills.

No matter where you are on your artistic journey, you possess a skill set that should be highlighted in your portfolio. Don’t be afraid to experiment and go beyond your artistic limits; this will indicate your willingness to try something new and stretch your creativity. Additionally, be sure to include works that exemplify your attention to detail and comprehension of the building blocks of art.

Present a variety of pieces.

As you create or begin to select your best work for applications, you’ll want to showcase your ability to express yourself through different mediums. The inclusion of both 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional pieces is encouraged for most portfolios, as this is a clear display of artistic range. Of course, you should call attention to your strengths and preferred medium(s), but consider exploring varied ways to spotlight your unique point of view. 

Pro Tip: Give yourself enough time to plan and develop your portfolio. It’s never too early to get a head start! 

Take quality pictures of your work.

Documenting the artistic process and end results through high-quality photographs is an integral yet often overlooked step in portfolio creation. Good news: you don’t need to be a professional photographer or own expensive gear. However, using your available resources to ensure that your artwork is in focus, well-lit, free of a distracting background, and appropriately positioned will add a noticeable layer of professionalism to your portfolio. 

Play up your personality and creative vision.

No two portfolios are exactly the same, but those that succeed often reflect an artist’s distinct character and style. So be yourself, and remember that an art portfolio is much more than a collection of work. It is a one-of-a-kind visual expression of your past learnings, present identity, and artistic aspirations. 


The Energy of In-Person Events

We all love the convenience of virtual meetings and events. Since the pandemic, we have gotten used to how easy it is to attend almost anything from the comfort of our home in front of our computer screen. It saves time and money—plus we don’t have to get dressed up! These benefits are the upside of virtual meetings.

Crosby Scholars embraces the convenience of these options, too. We love the fact that students don’t need to have transportation to get to an event every time. It’s also been great to be able to offer speakers from around the country to share their expertise with our Iredell students. The future will continue to include these virtual offerings because of the upsides they offer.

One thing that can’t be duplicated in a virtual meeting, however, is the energy that comes from meeting with other people who share common goals. There is something magical that happens when students from across the county come together on a college campus to learn together. Maybe it’s the commiserating about having to get up on a Saturday morning to come to a Crosby event. Maybe it’s seeing people you didn’t expect to see—but it makes you happy to know they are there with you. Maybe it’s the sense of community that comes with knowing that others care about your future and are willing to spend some time with you on a Saturday to help you grow.

Whatever that magic is, it’s there every time we get together in person with a group of Crosby Scholars. So if you haven’t attended an event in person yet, we encourage you to try it! We will be offering our next on-campus academy on January 28 at the MCC campus in Mooresville. There will also be chances to complete community service projects and to go on college tours with us in the coming months. We hope you will join us so you can experience the magic of the positive Crosby energy for yourself!


Is CTE Education for College-Bound Me?

Many students and parents are confused about Career and Technical Education (CTE) and whether it’s a path they should choose.

Below is an excerpt from the NC Department of Public Instruction Website that explains more about the goals and outcomes of these pathways:

The mission of Career and Technical Education (CTE) is to empower all students to be successful citizens, workers, and leaders in a global economy. CTE gives purpose to learning by emphasizing real-world skills and practical knowledge.

Programs in Career and Technical Education are designed to contribute to the broad educational achievement of students, including basic skills such as reading, writing, and mathematics, as well as their ability to work independently and as part of a team, think creatively, solve problems, and utilize technology. These tools and experiences make school more relevant, and ensure students are ready for the real world. Whether students plan to further their education in community colleges, technical schools, four-year colleges, and universities, receive on-the-job training, or pursue careers in the military, CTE can be the first step in a pathway toward productive employment and citizenship.

CTE Delivers for students:

  • Real options for students for college and rewarding careers
  • CTE programs allow students to explore a range of options for their future – inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Through CTE, students can start their path toward a career that they are passionate about while earning valuable experience, college credits and more.
  • CTE students are more likely to have a post-high school plan – including college – than other students; just 2% of CTE students say they “don’t know” what they will do after high school.

Real-world skills for students

CTE is a unique opportunity for hands-on learning – putting students at the center of the action.

Students in CTE programs and their parents are three times as likely to report they are “very satisfied” with their and their children’s ability to learn real-world skills as part of their current education compared to parents and students not involved in CTE.

Real middle and high school experience with more value for students

CTE programs are a part of middle and high school – students can participate in CTE and the other activities they enjoy, such as sports, the arts, or whatever else their friends are doing.

CTE takes students even further during their high school experience – providing opportunities for specialized classes, internships, and networking with members of the community.

Students in CTE programs and their parents are twice as likely to report they are “very satisfied” with their high school education experience compared to prospective CTE students and their parents.

State CTE Director – Trey Michael

https://www.dpi.nc.gov/districts-schools/classroom-resources/career-and-technical-education#:~:text=The%20mission%20of%20Career%20and,world%20skills%20and%20practical%20knowledge.

People commonly think that a student should choose EITHER CTE OR college, but it doesn’t have to be one or the other. It can be both!

For example, students who want to pursue a nursing career are well served by completing CNA training as part of a CTE pathway. Some nursing degree programs (including Mitchell Community College) require it for admission to the RN program.

As another example, students wanting to major in graphic design might consider a CTE pathway that includes learning how to use Adobe software such as Illustrator and Photoshop. Undergraduates have found that when they started a 4-year design program, professors expected that students already knew how to use the software. Students had to learn it on their own (while keeping up with assigned classwork) if they didn’t know how to use it prior to coming to the university campus.

So, explore your options. It might be worth your while to consider a CTE course even if it doesn’t add an extra .5 point to your GPA! It might be well worth it in the long run.


What to Expect as a Rising College Freshman

From walking across a graduation stage to stepping into the world of higher education, the life of a high school graduate can change drastically leading up to the highly-anticipated — and sometimes nerve-wracking — first day of college. To hopefully ease your mind a bit, here are a few tips and tricks to simplify your transition and help you expect the unexpected during your first year.

Prepare to be independent!

As you’ll come to discover, the choice to attend a two or four-year institution comes with great freedom, and as a result, great responsibility. From scheduling, enrolling, and attending classes to making time to work, eat, and sleep, the life of a college student can be a hectic one. Though, it doesn’t have to feel that way. Setting realistic goals, creating to-do lists, planning, and eliminating procrastination are just a few ways to reduce the stress that comes with pursuing any degree or certification. 

To get the most out of college and your newfound independence, you’ll want to walk away with something learned. So, in addition to gaining the tools and knowledge needed to succeed in your chosen career path, actively strive to discover something new about yourself. You’ll be better for it.  

Prepare to walk!

No matter the size of your college, you’ll want to anticipate traveling on foot. To prepare your body and mind for this change, consider taking a walking tour of your campus and class schedule before FDOC (the first day of class). Of course, cars and on-campus transportation are available options at some institutions, but be mindful of any parking fees or costs that come with these alternatives. 

Your goal, hopefully, is to enjoy your time in college. With that in mind, familiarizing yourself with your new environment and the physical limits of your body can positively impact your on-campus experience. In other words, if you’re not traveling by car, bus, or metro, you may want to bust out those walking shoes. 

Prepare for FUN!

Now for the best part. After a long week of classes and studying, you’ll want to find ways to relax your mind and enjoy the extracurricular offerings available on campus. If possible at your school, take advantage of student clubs, volunteer opportunities, art programs, athletics, Greek life, or other ways to get outside of your dorm. Not only can participating in university activities bring you lifelong social connections but professional relationships can also be developed by putting yourself out there. So, don’t be afraid to have a good time; it’ll definitely be earned! 

Of course, everyone will experience college differently, and you’re bound to make mistakes. But, with proper preparation, dedication, and an open mind, you’ll grow to learn from your shortcomings and find that freshman year is not what you expected at all. It’s so much better.


Careers in Heart Health

In the past couple of years, we have seen just how important our healthcare workers are. Since it is American Heart Month, we’d like to shed some light on the healthcare careers that work with the heart.

The name for this field specifically is called cardiology. Cardi (without the B) is the Greek word for heart and ology means the study of. For those of you that exercise, you may do some cardio exercises. This means the purpose of doing cardio is to get our hearts pumping.

As we all know, the heart is one of the most important organs in the body. Due to its importance, there is a whole sector of health careers dedicated to helping us keep our hearts healthy and strong. If you are interested in the health field, I would encourage you to look into cardiology as well.

Here is a shortlist of cardiac careers with a Certificate or 2-year degree:

  • EKG Technician – Also known as electrocardiograph technicians, these medical professionals use EKG equipment to monitor blood pressure and heart performance.
  • Cardiovascular Technician – They use electrocardiograms, Holter monitors, blood pressure tests, and stress tests to assess patients’ heart health and identify what is causing their symptoms.
  • Medical Sonographer – Medical sonographers use ultrasonic imaging machines to capture images of various organs and body parts, such as the heart and lungs.

This next set of careers require a bachelor’s degree or higher:

  • Cardiology Consultant – Cardiology consultants collaborate with other health care professionals to develop treatment plans for patients.
  • Cardiac Nurse – A cardiac nurse works alongside other members of a cardiology team to monitor their patients’ progress, answer their questions and keep them comfortable.
  • Cardiology Physician – AKA cardiologist cardiology physician finds, treats, and prevents diseases related to the cardiovascular system.

These are only a few of the careers that work with the heart. If you find any of these careers interesting, continue to do more research on these careers and more. Some of the best colleges for cardiac careers in North Carolina are Duke University, Wake Forest, UNC Chapel Hill, ECU, and NC State.


What Do College Access/Attainment Programs Do?

College access programs offer services that have typically only been available to students attending private schools or to students whose families could afford to hire a private college consultant.

Crosby Scholars, like many other college preparation/access programs across the country, offers similar programming and services found in private preparatory high schools. These programs aim to help public school students have access to the same level of services as students in private schools.

Here is a very short summary of what college access programs (like Crosby Scholars) do, starting roughly from the beginning (middle school) until the end (high school graduation). All of these activities are done in partnership with our local schools, and especially our guidance liaisons at each middle and high school.

College Aspirations. We help students see themselves as potential college students.

Academic Planning for College and Career. We provide information to help students and families make choices about high school programs and class options available. The goal is to have great options at graduation.

Enrichment & Extracurricular. We let students know the importance of having more than a good GPA to get into college and connect them to opportunities to build a great activities resume.

Career Exploration. We offer programs and resources for students to learn about careers, especially new and growing opportunities.

Career Assessments. We offer tools and connect students to free resources to help match a student’s interests and aptitudes to careers.

College Affordability Planning. We offer information to students and parents about the costs of college and ways to make it more affordable. We encourage families to talk about what is affordable and discuss options that are doable for the family.

College and Career Admissions Processes. We offer advising and training on how to apply to all types of college. We also help students with job-seeking skills such as resume writing, interviewing, and where to look for jobs and internships.

Transition from High School to College and Career. We offer assistance throughout the summer after graduation for any questions or issues that may arise. Students may contact us for help with changes in college plans. Crosby Scholars is unique in the fact that we offer need-based grants that are renewable throughout the four years of undergraduate study for those Crosby grads who apply and qualify.

At Crosby Scholars, we prepare students to have great options available to them after high school graduation–based on their individual goals, interests, and talents.

Suzanne wegmiller


3 Tips for Truth in Communication *

There is SO MUCH INFORMATION coming at us these days.  It is hard to know what is accurate, what is “sort of” close to the truth, and what is just plain wrong.

Whether you are passing along the information to friends or co-workers; your reputation as a trusted source of information or a rumor spreader is based upon the “information” that you share.

1.     Is the Source Credible?

One question to ask yourself is: “Have you heard of the source?”  If so; what is their reputation?  Are they a news outlet (newspaper, magazine, television) with a reputation for providing a balanced perspective by presenting both sides of the story?  Who do they use for their source of information?  Who are their experts? 

If the source has a history of leaning too far in one direction or another in their reporting; you can presume that some bias might exist in their version of events.

2.     Be wary of the “game of telephone”

Ever play the game of telephone where a message is whispered in your ear, gets whispered around the circle, and when it gets to the end the message is nowhere close to what you started with?

This can happen with the dissemination of information, too.  The further you are from the original source of information (the author of an article, a person who conducted research, an eye-witness), the more room for interpretation and personal opinion.  Often the person re-counting the information may not be aware that their perspective tainted the accuracy of the facts.

3.  Would you use the information in a research paper for school or work?

In years gone by, we could go to the library, look at the card catalog, and head to a source we felt confident would be fact-based and true.  Some of you may remember those days; finding facts in an encyclopedia, a trusted article in a reputable periodical or newspaper, or going WAY back and looking at records and information on microfiche. 

Today, with so much “information” at our fingertips 24-7, we have to dig a bit deeper to ensure we always seek the truth.  Consider using reputable fact-checking sources, whether or not the information has been used in a professional or academic journal, and whether the information has been referenced by a respected expert.

As Winston Churchill is quoted as saying, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”

Now go share the Facts!

*Inspired by Avery Blank, Senior Contributor to Forbes.


Finding the Right College Fit

Did you know that one in three students end up transferring after their first year in college? Do you know why that is? Students often focus on which institution is the right match, but don’t carefully evaluate if the institution is the right fit. Let’s break down the difference between “match” vs. “fit.” When researching colleges, it’s important to know which ones are the correct “match,” meaning do your test scores, extracurriculars, and GPA meet the school’s expectations of students who apply? Finding the right college “fit” is a different story. First decide what you want out of your college experience. Ask yourself some of these questions:

Does this school have my preferred major?

Is a football team important?

Does the school have greek life?

What is the student to professor ratio?

What is the size of the school?

Can I bring my car as a freshman?

Are there a lot of campus activities to get involved in?

Is the location of the school a deal breaker for me?

Is there available financial aid?

Is the student body diverse?

Do I feel safe when walking around on campus?

Is there a strong career center to help me find a job after I graduate?

There is not a one size fits all college. These questions are a good starting point, but there are many other questions you need to ask yourself. Know what is important to you in a college experience and decide whether or not the schools on your target list meet your expectations!