Staff and students at Stokes County Early College High School have outdone themselves again this year, receiving $3,260,040, in scholarship offerings for the 2016 graduating class.
“We have several students who have been offered full rides at several places,” said Early College Principal Misty Holloway. “Some students have been offered enough to pursue Master’s Degrees if they would like to.”
She said 28 of the 34 graduating students had been offered scholarships so far this year, bringing in over a $1 million more in offers than the school did last year.
“It is our two guidance counselors and the kids being very focused on applying to the colleges and for scholarships,” said Holloway, noting that students and staff start working on building a scholarship package from day one at the school and adding that students at traditional schools could do the same. “We encourage students to create College Foundation of North Carolina accounts. We encourage our students to have a high school resume that keeps track of everything they are doing in high school, all of their activities, clubs, any volunteer hours they are doing. They also need to work on keeping their grades up as much as possible.
“Most colleges are looking for that well rounded student,” she said. “It is not about who has the highest grades, it is about who has good grades but can also supplement with other activities. I would have a folder with everything they do. We tell our students in our freshman seminar classes to have a folder with all the items they are doing in it.”
Holloway said many of her students also worked outside of school, and included that information on their scholarship applications.
“Some of our students are the breadwinners in their families,” she said. “One student who have been offered a $128,000 scholarship is also the manager of a restaurant in King and is working 40 hours a week.”
Holloway said the over $3 million in scholarships offered was especially impressive because the school does not offer any organized sports.
“We have some students who participate in recreational sports,’ she said. “But the scholarships are all academic or character scholarships.”
Early College enrolling for 2016-17 school year
Holloway said now is the time for parents of rising ninth, tenth and eleventh graders interested in attending the Early College to start the application process, noting that most students graduate with both a high school diploma and an Associate’s Degree, as well as with variety of scholarship offers.
“We will be in the middle schools in the last week of January,” said Holloway, “talking to eight graders about our program and will be having corresponding parent meetings. All of those dates are on our website. We will also be having an open house on Feb. 2 starting at 5 p.m.”
Holloway said middle schools would be sending out ConnectEd messages about the application process and students at each middle school would have access to application materials.
The school can accept a total of 50 students for each grade level, and has 14 open spots each for transferring rising sophomores and juniors. Holloway said they would also have recruiters doing lunch visits at each of the county’s other high schools in early February.
“Current ninth and tenth grade students can apply to transfer,” Holloway said. “We are also going to try to have a shadowing event the second week of February to allow interested students to come over and be paired with one of our current students so they can get to know what it is like before they submit their application.”
Applications for eighth graders are due by Feb. 19 and ninth and tenth graders have until Feb. 26 to submit an application.
“The first requirement is filling out the application,” she said. “You do not have to be an A or a B student to be accepted to our program. You just have to have a strong academic potential, which means you are willing to put in the work. We are looking for kids who can handle the work load.”
After applying for the school every applicant will be asked to go through an interview with Early College staff members.
“Students also have to take the college placement test,” said Holloway. “We provide a review packet for them once they have submitted an application. It tells them exactly how to prepare for the test. We are also going to be offering a boot camp for applicants.
“Once all of that is done we sit down as an entire staff and go through everyone’s entire packet,” she added. “We do not look at names, we just look at the data and that is how we decided to either accept or wait-list students. If they are wait-listed they will have a second chance to take the college placement test.”
Holloway said applicants will be notified about acceptance to the school by March 30.
She said the school is expanding its recruitment efforts to students outside of county schools this year.
“We are going to be mailing out letters to students who live in the county but choose to go to other schools,” she said. “We are also pursuing students who have made other educational choices. We are putting flyer and applications in all three public libraries.
“We have several students who have come from home schooling environments,” she added. “They have adjusted very well. We are a small school and are very much like a family. Everyone helps everyone here.
“We also have a very diverse student body, because we have students from all over the county,” Holloway said. “Our students are getting to meet people they more than likely would not have had a chance to meet.”
Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.