North Plays Matchmaker in Connecting Students, Colleges
Seniors at North High School have been prepping for life after graduation the last two days at the school’s annual College Kickoff event. It’s held in the library and is coordinated by Counselor Kimber Foshe who arranged for 38 colleges and universities from around Iowa and the Midwest to send admissions representatives and kept them busy by prearranging appointments with the Polar Bear Class of 2014. Call her The Matchmaker.
Every senior writes an essay and compiles a resume for presentation to the reps of their choice. They’ve all seen their transcripts long before senior year. It’s all part of Foshe’s strategy to teach students to begin seeing themselves the way they’ll be seen by people and institutions with the power to open or close doors to future possibilities.
“Educating them about the realities of the college application process helps them see the purpose and value of coming to school every day,” said Foshe. “People who know them personally might do anything they ask, but we stress from their freshman year here that colleges will be introduced to them by what they see on paper so those documents need to recommend them.”
Two seniors whose outlooks have changed dramatically during their years at North are Stasha Botts and Ronnisha Hayes.
“When we first came here North was being remodeled and it was messy,” Stasha said. “But it’s beautiful now and the laptops we got a couple years ago made it possible for me to accelerate my progress. I’m graduating early in December.”
She wants to go into nursing and hopes eventually to land at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, never mind the Iowa State gear she was sporting yesterday.
Ronnisha recalled that she never wanted to attend North as she came through its elementary and middle school feeder pattern.
“I wanted to go to Roosevelt,” she said. “But I am so glad to be here now. I didn’t really figure college was gonna be the thing for me, but now it absolutely must be!” Looking very college-bound in her Kansas University sweatshirt, Ronnisha was waiting to talk with Iowa State and the University of Northern Iowa. She was so intrigued by her AP Psychology class at North that she’s thinking she’d like to become a psychologist now.
“It’s not unusual for high schools to have some sort of college fair,” according to Cole Zimmerman, Director of Recruitment at Simpson College in Indianola, (but) “North is the only one in this area with such a hands on approach. It’s really helpful to have the students sign up for a specific time to meet with you. I had a different student every 15 minutes all morning and most of the other colleges did as well. The other excellent thing they do is have volunteers and teachers helping students sign up for the ACT and fill out applications online. North really has its act together with this event.”
Foshe’s matchmaking is high stakes. There are futures on the line. But these are hardly blind dates she’s arranged. By the time prospective schools and students meet face to face enough homework’s been done to feel pretty certain that many of them are made for each other. No wonder the dancing in the library the last couple of days went so smoothly – even without any music.