Free College Prep Seminars Make Use of Summer Downtime
Have questions about the college admissions process? Come to a series of free seminars beginning Saturday that cover everything from applications to scholarships.
If you're a parent or student ready for the college admissions process but don't know where to start, Robin Groelle is the person to talk to.
Groelle has spent almost 30 years helping kids get into college. She most recently served as the director of college counseling at Saint Stephen's Episcopal School before deciding to branch out on her own.
"It's kind of a preset group of kids that are pretty much on track to college (at Saint Stephen's)," Groelle said. "I always liked working with a range of students."
To that end, Groelle is hosting a series of free college counseling seminars beginning Saturday for local students and parents. The first, "Getting In and Paying For It," will be held from 9-11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Kiwanis Hall, 1401 21st Ave. W.
The seminars are open to students of all backgrounds and will include other experts covering such topics as how to write a college essay, find the right college, complete the applications and apply for financial aid and scholarships.
Groelle will also host a free application boot camp for rising juniors and seniors June 21 and a test prep workshop for rising 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders June 23.
The seminars are made possible through a grant from the Southern Association for College Admissions Counseling and in collaboration with Take Stock in Children, Bradenton Kiwanis and Princeton Review. They're held in the summer so students and their families can get a jumpstart on college planning before what is often a hectic senior year.
"Some people think applying to college is a full-time job," Groelle said. "The more you can complete over the summer and finish up before you start up your senior year, the better off you'll be."
Michelle McCarthy, an Advanced Placement literature teacher and the English Chair at Manatee High School, will focus on the college essay — which she called students' moment to shine — at Saturday's workshop. She also said she hopes to assuage some common fears of students and their parents.
"The process is high stakes," said McCarthy, who's been at Manatee for 12 years. "It seems more rigorous now. It's not just if you have a high GPA or SAT scores or a lot of extra-curriculars. The playing field isn't even. ... I think it doesn't seem as daunting if you talk to some experts who've been through it."
Groelle said it's never too early to start preparing for college. Many AP and International Baccalaureate programs are identifying students before they get to ninth grade.
"You have to be on the roll by middle school," Groelle said.
Groelle said she hopes the seminars and her work with students will open their eyes to new schools and possibilities they might not have considered.
"I think it should challenge young people to look beyond the horizon," Groelle said.
To RSVP for any of the free workshops, call 941-932-1216 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and see the attached PDF flyer for more details. Find more information and other free resources on Groelle's website, collegecounselling.com.