Students participate in college application week
By Robet Stevens
Students in Sanpete County have a chance each October to work on their postsecondary education plan as part of Utah College Application Week.
This will be the eighth year running since the idea got off the ground to help students fill out college applications, but last year Gov. Gary Herbert made an official declaration that October would be Utah College Application and Awareness Month.
North Sanpete High School (NSHS) had their College Application Week earlier this month, and Ben Cox, NSHS counselor, has been spearheading the event for the school.
“It’s all about encouraging students to apply for college,” Cox says. “We’ve been trying to make it better than ever too. It’s been very helpful to a lot of students. I have many apply over my time here, including many who would not likely have applied to college otherwise. Taking that first step can be huge.”
Cox told the Messenger that one time several years ago at Utah College Application Week, NSHS had 90 percent of all seniors apply to college.
“Part of it is that some colleges have really gotten on board,” Cox says. “Especially the ones that are trying to actively recruit.” Snow College, Southern Utah University and Dixie all waive the college application fees during the week, saving students as much as $60 in some cases.
At NSHS, the week is about more than just filling out an application. All week long, the school hosts competitions, contests and gives out prizes as part of the experience.
“Different schools do different things, but we try to get everyone excited about college and career readiness,” Cox says. “We know not everyone who applies will go to college, but it’s definitely been successful and a big help.”
Gunnison Valley High School (GVHS) and Manti High School (MHS) kicked off their Utah College Application Week on Monday.
Maria Squire, a GEAR UP coordinator at GVHS told the Messenger the high school was visited by college admissions counselors on Monday and Tuesday to help guide students through the application process. On Wednesday at an assembly, a speaker talked about goals, and afterwards Snow College financial aid counselors showed students how to apply for financial aid.
“It’s great because it raises awareness of the college application process and provides access to admissions counselors,” Squire said. “The fee waiver is a great benefit too, for those schools that do it.”
Since its inception, Utah College Application Week has grown from only eight schools in its first year to more than 165 schools in 35 different school districts across Utah. It provides every participating student with the opportunity to complete at least one college or university application during the school day, and helps them to get started navigating the college admissions process.
Special focus is placed on students who will be the first in their families to attend college, on low-income students or students who may not have otherwise considered applying to a college or university.