• Post 1101 - How does one prepare for scholarship competitions? - Physical Vigor 

    Posted by Sherry S. Andrews - Career & College Wise on 11/30/2018 3:00:00 AM

    Career & College Wise                                          Friday, November 30, 2018

    Post 1101 - How does one prepare for scholarship competitions? - Physical Vigor 

    Email: ccw@lee.k12.nc.us

    Please email me with your thoughts, concerns, and questions.

    The oldest merit scholarship in the United States is the John Motley Morehead, now known as the Morehead/Cain Scholarship. This scholarship as many other merit based scholarships seeks individuals who are physically fit and understands the very essence of being a team member and contributing to the success of competitive sports.

    The previous sentence actually says a mouthful of information that everyone needs to understand. Let's break it down:

    1. Physically fit - active in taking good care of one's physical being by participating in physical activity on an individual bases or in a team effort. Some examples are - running, playing football, or softball, or tennis, or all three! It is about maintaining a fit body in order to meet difficult challenges head on and be successful in doing so.

    2. Team Member/Team Player - merit based scholarships want individuals who genuinely understand what it means to be a team member and more importantly a team player. What is your contribution to the team? In working with the thousands of students over the years, some of my most successful students in achieving merit based scholarships were not always the best athlete, but they were the best team player. For example, my son, Spencer played varsity football and baseball all the way through high school and was a very good player - and he also played basketball - JV for two years and then Varsity for two. Needless to say, he was more of a bench warmer in basketball - his skill was stealing the ball and being a sharp shooter so he often played in the most stressful minutes of the game. When he interviewed for scholarships, the committees were interested in his success as a football and baseball player, but they always seemed to be far more interested in his basketball experiences. Committee members were always impressed that he understood and graciously accepted his role as the 6th man on the basketball team when he was so successful on the football and baseball fields and had such significant roles on each. He explained to them that being the 6th man was significant because he was afforded the opportunity to help his team in the two areas he performed best, and his teammates depended on him in clutch situations. He did not have to be a star to be a major contributor to the team effort. Committees loved his response. Ironically, my daughter, Morgan, experienced much the same scenario: she played Varsity Volleyball and Softball all four years of high school and played JV Basketball her first two years and then played two years of varsity basketball. Her role on the varsity team was to give the star player a two to three minute break each quarter, or to go into the game and give a quick foul, and most importantly, to daily push the star player to her greatest potential in practice. My daughter absolutely loved her role and was able to share with numerous scholarship committees with each enjoying her understanding of being a team player as well. She would share with the committees that basketball was her winter break: the game kept her fit; it challenged her abilities; and produced no stress in her life because she enjoyed being tagged by the coach as the best "fouler" to ever play the game, and she would go on to say that she felt that was quite an honor coming from an awesome 40+ year coach Hall of Famer and many times Coach of the Year recipient! He also told her that she made the star player push harder and harder each day. It is this type of physical vigor - the team player role - that merit scholarship organizations seek in their recipients. Consequently, it is more than being a team member; it is about being a team player no matter the position one plays.

    3. Competitive - merit based scholarships like to know that their recipients have a passion for being competitive. If a person is competitive then he/she is constantly seeking new challenges. These committees want individuals who are not afraid to fail because they want to know once they do fail how did they recover - how did they persevere throughout the failure - how did they overcome it! In their eyes, people learn how to be successful through failure. When Morgan spoke of being competitive she spoke frankly about being a three sport athlete who was extremely competitive - that's why she played three sports in high school. Oddly, she felt one of her biggest failures was in her weakest sport, basketball, when she was sent into a game to foul - she did so but the referee did not call it so she did it again and he still did not call it. They were down by 1 and needed the ball back with only 10 seconds to go so she fouled again, and it was quite flagrant, yet not called - she was devastated and time ran out and they lost the game which was a game they needed to advance in the state tournament. She claimed it would never happen again and stated the fouls she would make would no longer go unnoticed and she lived up to her promise. My son also has stories of failure on the field. He vividly remembers his junior year at the baseball state championship where his team was predicted to win and did not! However, he made a point the next year to keep his team focused and fixed on the moment at hand instead of thinking too far into the future - and as things would end up - they won the state baseball championship with him being named MVP of the series. Scholarship committees want to understand how failure in competition affects an individual - does he/she give up or does he/she push through striving to overcome the disappointment? How deep does one's competitive spirit go?

    Physical Vigor is important to scholarship committees - not necessarily for the awards, but more for the journey one travels through from the ups to downs to the ups!

    My advice: Find a way to be a participant in some form of physical vigor either through one's school activities or community offerings.

    Happy Friday! I hear we should get ready for a cold weekend!

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  • Post 1100 - How does one prepare for scholarship competitions? - Character

    Posted by Sherry S. Andrews - Career & College Wise on 11/29/2018 3:00:00 AM

    Career & College Wise                               Thursday, November 29, 2018

    Post 1100 - How does one prepare for scholarship competitions? - Character

    Email: ccw@lee.k12.nc.us

    Please email me with your thoughts, concerns, and questions.

    Character is the defining factor in becoming a merit scholarship recipient. Character must be exhibited in all areas of one's life and shown through the essay questions on each scholarship application and even more so in the interview process. The type of character as well as the depth of one's character are what scholarship committees seek to understand when selecting recipients.

    In essence, character comes in many forms. First, true character shows best when no one is looking; in other words, one does what he/she does because he/she genuinely desires to do so not because someone is looking or for a reward. For example, a student's grades are an excellent show of character. They perform academically because they desire to do well and learn for the sake of learning or for the love of learning not because someone is watching them or they will receive an excellent grade or even money for their grades. Another example, a student helps an elderly person carry his/her groceries to the car or a new student is sitting alone in the cafeteria so another student goes over to sit with him/her and welcomes the new student to the school - not because someone might be watching but because it is the right thing to do. Another example might be when a student is taking a test and he/she suddenly realizes the teacher has left the overhead on that shows all the answers so the student goes up and quietly turns the machine off. Depth of character such as these examples begins to seep into other areas of one's life constantly developing one's character and one soon realizes that he/she is in a learning environment where every instance creates the opportunity to grow and deepen one's character.

    Scholarship committees desperately seek students who understand the meaning of practicing a worthy character, where others are put before oneself. As my momma always said, “It takes a lifetime to build a good, strong character and only a second to destroy it! 

    My advice: Each student should find ways to develop and build his/her character; and then he/she should guard it with every ounce of his/her strength.

    Tomorrow, it is all about the element of physical vigor in the scholarship process. 
    Have a wonderful Thursday!
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  • Post 1099 - How does one prepare for scholarship competitions? - Leadership

    Posted by Sherry S. Andrews - Career & College Wise on 11/28/2018 3:00:00 AM

    Career & College Wise                                            Wednesday, November 28, 2018

    Post 1099 - How does one prepare for scholarship competitions? - Leadership 

    Email: ccw@lee.k12.nc.us

    Please email me with your thoughts, concerns, and questions.

    As a side note let's define what Merit Scholarships are:  Merit Scholarships are solely based on the student's accomplishments through Scholarship, Leadership, Character/Service, and in some cases Physical Vigor - merit scholarships have nothing to do with need or financial aid.

    Yesterday, in the blog post, we fully discussed Academic Scholarship; and today, it is all about Leadership.

    It is a known fact that merit scholarship organizations and foundations seek, most often, the well rounded student; and a major aspect scholarship committees look for in this well roundedness is the student's ability to lead. Is there a pattern to the student's leadership? Has there been growth in the leadership? Does the student step outside his/her comfort zone in order to lead?

    A huge part of the leadership element is understanding one's own leadership style and developing it while in high school both in your school and in your community. For these scholarship organizations, they want to select individuals who sincerely and genuinely have the desire to lead; it is a passion for the student. They seek these individuals because they want their recipients to further grow in leadership and then play a vital role in the leadership on their college campus and of our world. 

    So, how does a student attempt to develop his/her leadership skills and a leadership style? For most students, middle school and high school are wonderful places to explore numerous opportunities in leadership. Fortunately, Lee County Schools offer lots of different ways to build one's leadership, as well as the Lee County community. To show growth in leadership, the student should begin to be a part of clubs and organizations offered by the school and community, as well as being a member of a team. 

    Speaking of being a member of a team, this aspect alone is most important in leadership development. Why? Because, when one knows how to be a team member/team player then one understands being a follower and being a leader and sometimes one is much more important than the other depending on the situation. When I say team, I don't always mean a sports team - maybe it's the school's robotics team, the quiz bowl team, or a DECA team, or maybe it's the community theater team or dance team. In essence, it is about being a member of organizations, finding one's niche; and in the areas of expertise, it is about stepping forward and being a leader; and in areas of weakness, it is about being an active follower - in both cases focusing on the team effort and team goals is paramount.

    As parents, encourage your children to get involved in their school and community! Yes, it is hard work and time consuming for us as parents, but it is well worth the effort for your children. When we are old and gray, our children will be our leaders whether they are prepared or not - I vote for them to be prepared - and our schools and our communities provide numerous opportunities for them to hone their skills and find the leadership style that best suits their personalities! 

    My advice: Find ways that fit your personality and passions in which to lead in as the student enters middle and high school.  Use these opportunities to develop one's leadership style and to gain skills in becoming a strong leader.

    Happy Wednesday! Tomorrow, it is all about Character and Service!

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  • Post 1098 - How does one prepare for scholarship competitions? - Scholarship 

    Posted by Sherry S. Andrews - Career & College Wise on 11/27/2018 3:00:00 AM

    Career & College Wise                                     Tuesday, November 27, 2018

    Post 1098 - How does one prepare for scholarship competitions? - Scholarship 

    Email: ccw@lee.k12.nc.us

    Please email me with your thoughts, concerns, and questions.

    What do scholarship foundations such as the Morehead/Cain at UNC Chapel Hill and the Park at NCSU, just as examples, expect students to be like academically? Wow, that question in itself is huge. Well, they first look at the scholarship of each applicant. They have very specific academic requirements that they feel each student who moves forward in such competitive scholarship programs must have in order to advance. 

    For example:

    1. They first look at the curriculum the student has taken in comparison to what the school offers. Has the student taken advantage of all the AP, honors, and/or IB courses available at their school? Has the student taken advantage of local college courses offered at their school? Has the student stepped outside his/her comfort zone curriculum wise to enhance his/her academic program? Academically, to be strongly competitive for these type of merit scholarships, one's curriculum should consist of 12 to 15 AP or IB courses and 10 to 15 Honors courses with electives being in a specific area that are carried out throughout high school such as 4 years of art: Art I, Art II, AP Art History, AP Art Studio Design or Marching Band all four years, or Drama all four years - or four years of business courses - or four years of agriculture courses - or four years of ROTC - or four years of journalism - or four years of engineering courses - in other words a strong concentration in a specific area of interest. Why? Because it shows dedication and allows for the student to fully develop in something that he/she might carry over to the next level. It is all about the planning!!

    2. The second item the scholarship committees scrutinize on the student's transcript is each and every grade - seeking the most challenged who have made the very best grades. 

    3. The third item scholarship committees examine will be the GPA weighted and unweighted as well as class rank (if provided by the school and all public high schools provide a class rank). The class rank is most important because it is the most efficient way for the schlarship foundation to compare students from the same school who have had the exact same opportunities. For these high profile scholarships, students need to be in the top ten percent of their senior class and in most cases the top 5%. For example, if you have 300 in a senior class then the top 10% would be the top 30 and the top 5% would be the top 15. 

    4. Fourth, to round out the scholarship process, SAT scores and/or ACT scores are a top priority. For most merit scholarships, students need to be over 1300 on the SAT's Evidenced Reading and Math combined scores (650+ ER and 650+ M) with a solid writing score of 650+; and on the ACT, students need to have a composite score of no lower than 29 which converts to a 1300 on the SAT CR/M. For scholarship purposes, I can assure you that these scores are far more important than they are for admissions purposes. For the past several years, students who had a strong class rank of number 1 or 2 might be okay with an SAT of 1260 and a student with a rank of 9, 10, or 11 might be okay with a 1390 SAT. In other words, where there is a deficit on the transcript then the student needs to make up for it elsewhere on the transcript.

    You know, it is really funny but these are the first things colleges look at as well when seeking the students they will accept - simply with a wider range for each category. My point is: a student should always strive for the best - if one falls short by a little or a lot - at least they are still on track to meet the requirements of the most competitive colleges.

    Personally, I told both of my children to strive to be in the top 10% of their graduating class; and if they did, they would have scholarship options - it might not be the prestigious Morehead/Cain (which neither of my children wanted to go to Carolina) or the highly respected Park Scholarship - but something would come their way. I also told them that even though Spencer wanted to play Division I Baseball and Morgan wanted to play volleyball or softball with her preference being softball that I would only agree to it if they accepted academic scholarships - we would not be considering athletic scholarships. My reasoning is simple: if you have a career ending athletic injury then the scholarship can and is often lost; whereas, an academic scholarship has the criteria of maintaining a specific GPA while in college. For Spencer with his academic scholarships, he had to maintain a 3.4 GPA; and for Morgan, she had to maintain a 3.5 GPA in order to keep the scholarships awarded at high school graduation. As a mom, I loved this requirement, and I made it very clear to both children that it was these scholarships that afforded them the opportunity to attend a private college in North Carolina - if they did not maintain the GPA then they would have to move to a public university that mom could afford and most likely forfeit playing ball. Thank goodness they stuck to the Andrews' game plan!!

    Wednesday we will discuss leadership and how it fits into the scholarship process.

    Happy Friday - have a great day and a blessed weekend!

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  • Post 1097 - How does one prepare for scholarship competitions?

    Posted by Sherry S. Andrews - Career & College Wise on 11/26/2018

    Career & College Wise                               Monday, November 26, 2018

    Post 1097 - How does one prepare for scholarship competitions? 

    Email: ccw@lee.k12.nc.us

    Please email me with your thoughts, concerns, and questions.

    Next Friday, December 7th, the oldest solely merit based scholarship in the United States will contact the students, approximately 200 to 225 out of more than 2,000 who applied, who have been selected to proceed in the prestigious Morehead/Cain Scholarship competition at UNC Chapel Hill. These semifinalists will compete in January for a spot in the finalists round of approximately 125 students that will occur in late February or early March to select the final group of approximately 50 recipients. During the next week of December, the Park Scholarship at NCSU will notify its semifinalists who will follow a similar path of competition. There are numerous scholarships available and the students who are rewarded are the ones who started at a young age striving to perform academically at a very high level. They are the students who constantly challenge themselves with taking the most difficult courses and seek to achieve at the highest levels in all areas of their life. 

    For our younger students who are in middle school and early years of high school, it is important for them to understand what such scholarships are looking for in their recipients. This week and next week we will talk each day about a different aspect most merit scholarships - like that of the Morehead/Cain and Park Scholarships seek in the individuals they award scholarships to each year.  Fortunately, most colleges have some form of merit scholarship competition, so it is wise to understand what is expected of a candidate.

    Tuesday -  Scholarship

    Wednesday -  Leadership

    Thursday -  Character and Service

    Friday -  Physical Vigor

    Happy Monday - it is a great day!  We are turkeyed out and thankful for the break, but now it is back to business!  Let's get it done!!

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  • Post 1096 - Even more Thankfulness to share! Day 5

    Posted by Sherry S. Andrews - Career & College Wise on 11/23/2018 3:00:00 AM

    Career & College Wise                            Friday, November 23, 2018

    Post 1096 - Even more Thankfulness to share! Day 5

    Email: ccw@lee.k12.nc.us

    Please email me with your thoughts, concerns, and questions.

    My continued thankfulness - please bear with me....

    During my years working in Lee County Schools at Lee County High School, I discovered some of the best people in the whole world.  People who sincerely care for the children of Lee County. I worked with teachers who used their own money and resources to purchase materials for their classrooms. I worked with principals and assistant principals who spent so much time at the school that I honestly do not know how they had a family life. I also worked with numerous administrative staff from the central office who were always willing to try new things affording each school in the county its own identity. Most importantly, I worked with students and parents who genuinely cared about the learning process for their children. It was truly the best years of my career. I am genuinely thankful for this opportunity and for being afforded this opportunity to continue to work with all of these individuals via this blog. 

    Each blog entry is given much thought and when needed much research prior to its posting. I want you as blog followers to feel as though you can email me with your thoughts, concerns, and questions pertaining to career and college. I want each blog post to provide good information much of what I have lived both professionally and personally. I am blessed to share information with the folks of Lee County.

    Have a wonderful Friday - the day after Thanksgiving - if you are shopping enjoy but be careful - if you are at home putting up Christmas, enjoy the memories! 

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  • Post 1095 - Happy Thanksgiving - Have a Blessed Day!

    Posted by Sherry S. Andrews - Career & College Wise on 11/22/2018 3:00:00 AM


    Career & College Wise                                    Thursday, November 22, 2018

    Post 1095 - Happy Thanksgiving - Have a Blessed Day!

    Email: ccw@lee.k12.nc.us

    Please email me with your thoughts, concerns, and questions.

    I absolutely love Thanksgiving! It is the one holiday where family comes together to just be family - no presents just good company, good food, and good conversation. For me, Thanksgiving brings pause for all my many blessings. In 2006, when my son was graduating high school and leaving for college, I honestly did not know how I was going to make it... then two years later my daughter heads off to college. Personally, I hated the empty nest feeling and relished the thought of my children returning home for each holiday and eventually after college. That too, did not last long enough...Spencer married in July of 2012 and then Morgan in January of 2014. I didn't know if I could deal with the empty nest again but my real blessing occurred on March 15, 2014 when my first grandchild was born, Calvin Clayton Andrews to Spencer and Anna Grey Andrews. Now, at 4 years 8 months, Calvin is the light of our eyes and the spring in our step - I absolutely adore him. As a matter of fact, he provides me with my daily hug and kiss - trust me when I tell you it does not get any better than this. Fortuanately, in 2016, Spencer and Anna Grey added a little granddaughter to our family.  Charleigh Grey Andrews was born on April 2, 2016, and she too is the apple of my eye.  She is currently 2 years and 7 months old, and she simply shines with personality. Finally, just two short months ago, my daughter Morgan Andrews Peterson gave birth to her first child and my third grandchild - Heath Adam Peterson - a 9 pound 21 and 3/4ths inches baby boy - and he is amazing!!  I just love this new addition to our family.  Yes, I have much to be thankful for because I am sincerely and genuinely blessed!  I absolutely love my family!

    Having a little one in the family again makes me start thinking about college. Currently, private colleges are averaging $40,000 per year and our North Carolina public colleges are averaging $20,500 per year. When I attended NCSU in (well many moons ago), my parents paid less than $3,000 per year. If the cost of college continues to rise as it has in the past, our public schools will average the now private school average of $40,000 and our private colleges will average what it now costs to go to Wake Forest or Duke which is $72,500 per year when my little Calvin, Charleigh, and Heath begin this process. Keep in mind... I am talking, in each case, the costs on a per year bases. Currently, a 4 year public college graduate can expect to pay close to $90,000 over a four year period, and a private college graduate can expect to pay well over $160,000 over a four year period. So my little grandson, Calvin, will get to choose between a $160,000 or more public college education or a $300,000 private college education. Really?? My son is a high school English Teacher who is studying to be a minister and my daughter-in-law is a social worker....how do they possibly plan for such an insurmountable education for Calvin and Charleigh and the same for my daughter and her husband in planning for Heath....and who knows how many other children each set might have. This thought has scared me to death because I know how very important an education is to an individual. Frankly, I am not certain how to circumvent and overcome this most immediate issue.....I just simply know we need to do so.

    I know the title of my blog post is: Thankful for choice! - and I am...we simply need to make a concerted effort to make the choices more financially feasible!!!

    Happy Thanksgiving blog readers - may your holiday be one filled with love, family, friends, and good times.  Have a blessed day!

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  • Post 1094 -  A Week of Thanksgiving - Day 3!

    Posted by Sherry S. Andrews - Career & College Wise on 11/21/2018


    Career & College Wise                                              Wednesday, November 21, 2018

    Post 1094 -  A Week of Thanksgiving - Day 3!

    Email: ccw@lee.k12.nc.us

    Please email me with your thoughts, concerns, and question!

    Today is a busy day for most folks - you are either trying to finish up at work, or preparing for a huge feast for tomorrow, or traveling to the Thanksgiving destination - yes a busy day for all.  For me, I am doing a little of all three except my family's feast is tonight.  Now that my children are adults with families of their own, we have to be a bit more strategic as to when we plan our holiday events so Thanksgiving for us is often Wednesday night prior to Thanksgiving Day.  I often spend my Thanksgiving Day decorating for Christmas.  For our seniors who are still working on college applications, today is key - put them to work....tell your seniors they much use today to complete what they have hopefully started.  It is so time to get serious about finishing the college applications even the applications that are due in early January!  Do not procrastinate any longer.  It is not fun using your Christmas break for completing college applications - the goal should be to finish all college apps by the middle of December - no later.  I challenge each senior to set December 15th as their college application end date!!!

    Enjoy today - happy travels if traveling and happy cooking if cooking!!

    I hope everyone has a blessed Thanksgiving holiday!

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  • Post 1093 -  A Week of Thanksgiving - Day 2!

    Posted by Sherry S. Andrews - Career & College Wise on 11/20/2018 3:00:00 AM

    Career & College Wise                                         Tuesday, November 20, 2018

    Post 1093 -  A Week of Thanksgiving - Day 2!

    Email: ccw@lee.k12.nc.us

    Please email me with your thoughts, concerns, and question!

    Seniors, it is time to reevaluate where you are at with the college process - how did you do on yesterday's quiz?

    Hopefully, you have completed all of the items I mentioned on the list.  If you haven't, use your time over the holiday to complete all that you can.  If hou are struggling, seek help.  If you are confused about things, seek help.  Who can help you:  your parents, a teacher, a school counselor, a friend, just someone who you trust.  Seek assistance because time is of the essence - no more stalling.

    Get with it and work tomorrow on all that you can!

    I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

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  • Post 1092 -  A Week of Thanksgiving!

    Posted by Sherry S. Andrews - Career & College Wise on 11/19/2018

    Career & College Wise                                         Monday, November 19, 2018

    Post 1092 -  A Week of Thanksgiving!

    Email: ccw@lee.k12.nc.us

    Please email me with your thoughts, concerns, and question!

    Seniors, it is time to reevaluate where you are at with the college process:

    Which applications have you completed and which ones are remaining and what are these schools' due dates?

    Have you applied to at least 2 sure bet schools, 2 at-risk schools, and all of your dream schools?

    Have you sent your transcripts - high school transcript and any college transcripts to all your colleges?

    Have you sent all test scores to your colleges?

    Have you sent all recommendations to your colleges?

    Have you started filling out scholarship applications?

    Have you completed your residency determination status form on CFNC.org for any public school you are applying to in North Carolina?

    Have you applied for the FAFSA?

    Are you maintaining good grades?

    How are you doing on this little quiz?


    Have a great Monday!




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