This article appeared in the August 20, 2014 edition of The Courier-Times of Roxboro. The Duke College Advising Corps is administered by the Community Service Center with support from the Office of Civic Engagement.
By Grey Pentecost
Courier-Times staff writer
Person High School (PHS) students will have extra help with college and career preparation available to them this year with the addition of two new advisors.
Recent Duke University graduate Sonam Aidasani will spend the next two years as a full-time college advisor at PHS, making herself available to students at any grade level.
Aidasani’s position was made available through a partnership between Duke University and the national non-profit College Advising Corps, which is using grant funding to send recent Duke graduates to work as college advisors in rural North Carolina schools.
Aidasani will not work as a Duke recruiter, but will help students with the process of getting into the colleges they have chosen.
Also new to the PHS advising group this year is Piedmont Community College (PCC) advisor Nan MacFayden.
MacFayden, an employee of PCC, will work with students interested in PCC’s programs, helping make sure they are taking the right classes for the pathways they are interested in pursuing.
Both MacFayden and Aidasani will have offices at PHS.
The new advisors join the PHS counseling department and grant-funded GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) program in helping make sure PHS students are prepared for life after high school, through assistance with everything from admissions essays and college visits to financial aid and scholarships.
The combination of advisors, said PHS Principal Jarrod Dennis, gives students the “total support package.”
GEAR UP Coordinator Kelly Woody said she is excited about the collaboration.
GEAR UP will serve ninthand 12th-grade students next year, in addition to the middle school students the program serves.
PHS counselor Scott Schwartz was excited to announce that PHS has also recently been named an ACT test center, becoming the only test center in the county.
High school juniors in the state are required to take the test, which has been administered to PHS students onsite since the mandate took effect in the 2012-13 school year. However, students interested in taking the test at any other time were required to go to a test center out of town.
The ACT test will be offered at PHS Oct. 25, with a Sept. 19 registration deadline, and on Feb. 7.
The SAT will be offered at PHS Oct. 11, with a registration deadline of Sept. 12.
Schwartz said he was excited about PHS becoming a testing center because it appeared that PHS students traditionally scored higher on the ACT than on the SAT. He added that North Carolina colleges give both tests equal weight, and that all UNC schools also “super score,” which means that the highest section scores from any ACT or SAT tests that a student has taken will be combined to give them the highest composite scores possible.
Schwartz said the school would be offering various test prep opportunities to students, and would be making them aware of free prep apps that can be accessed through tablet or mobile phone devices.
Schwartz said he encourages students and parents to start looking at college applications now to make sure they meet the deadlines and requirement on time. He noted that good test scores were important, as is the high school transcript.
Woody noted that students should not wait until they are juniors or seniors to begin preparing for college. The college advisors would be available to help underclassmen as well, she said, with things such as tutoring and test preparation.
More information about PHS’ college resources can be found on the revamped guidance department website at http://phsdukecac.wix.com/personguidance.
Parents interested in learning more about Aidasani’s services will have the opportunity to attend an information session as part of the PHS PTSO meeting being held Sept. 8 at 5:45 p.m.