Tullahoma High School students seeking extra help in navigating the college application process need only visit the Hands-On Science Center in February and May for a workshop hosted by Beverly Lee.
Lee, a retired Air Force colonel who now works as an independent education counselor, has been helping high school juniors and seniors trudge their way through the rigorous and often tedious college application process for the last decade, she said.
Her desire to help young people take their first steps into the world of higher education comes from her own passion for education, she said.
“I have always been in the world of education and training,” she said.
Throughout her life, Lee said she has been a continual learner, as both a member of the U.S. Air Force, as a PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) president at two schools in California, and now as an adjunct professor of psychology at Motlow.
Lee has been an advocate for education in all forms, including STEM education, which is why she has partnered with the Hands-On Science Center in order to give both college application workshops and one-on-one coaching.
In both settings, Lee said she asks the students a series of questions in order to highlight their accomplishments and goals for the future.
Club participation, special awards and recognitions, community service hours and co-curriculars are itemized and categorized in special one-inch binders filled with sheet protectors that the students use to keep track of their school history.
List of goals and interests are taken into account in choosing a list of colleges to apply to and teacher recommendation request forms are given to the students.
While the process of applying to college can seem daunting to many young people, Lee says she hopes to make the process more manageable for all whom she helps with her workshops and individual consulting.
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” she said of preparing to apply to college. Students who don’t properly prepare frequently don’t present their best selves when competing for spots in college among the millions of students across the country attempting the same thing.
In Tullahoma in particular, she said, she’s seen that students are typically taking the proper steps, but need help in packaging themselves for college admissions committees.
The students in Tullahoma are doing the same things that students in California, New York or Connecticut are doing, but they just need to synthesize their applications to present themselves as a better candidate than others, she said.
Lee’s goal in hosting the workshops is to take away some of the anxiety of applying to college by giving students a step-by-step guide on how they can best shine throughout the application process.
Some steps Lee takes in order to assist students in showing them which colleges will require supplemental information, such as entrance essays, personal statements, or faculty recommendations.
Lee also shows students the Common Application, which is a standard college application used by over 700 private and public colleges and universities in the country.
Lee has two sets of workshops coming up at HOSC for interested students and parents looking for help in choosing the right college for their children.
The first set of workshops will be held on the last two Saturdays in February, the 17th and 24th of the month. The workshops will begin at 2 p.m. each day and run until 5 p.m.
According to Lee, the goals of the workshops are to help students “understand college readiness” and “communicate the importance of preparing and applying to college.”
The workshops will also help to “engage and inform under-represented students (first-generation college students, low-income students) about post-secondary opportunities and career readiness.”
In the workshops, she said, she will lay out a “road map” for navigating the college application process.
“My focus has been to inspire students to go for their dreams,” she said. “I will then give them ongoing guidance to help them achieve their goals.”
In addition to the workshops, Lee also provides a more personal consultation to interested families in order to get a more personalized path for students to follow.
The workshops are completely free to attend for all interested, according to Lee.
Those interested in registering for the workshops are encouraged to visit www.hosc.org/college and sign up or call HOSC at 455-8387.
Students in grades 8-12 are invited to attend.
There will also be two workshops hosted in May, on the 12th and 19th from 2 to 5 p.m.
Erin McCullough may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.