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Parsons encourages students to 'Apply Kansas' - KOAM TV 7

Parsons encourages students to 'Apply Kansas'

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An education initiative put forth by a statewide steering committee hopes to ease the intimidation of applying to college. A 2014 survey found students were waiting too late to begin the college application process, thus missing out on financial aid and overall acceptance.

"We do have a lot of students that they are the first person in their families to go to college, so I think it's a little intimidating. It's not really that easy, there's a lot of steps," guidance counselor Tabitha Spriggs said.

Tatum Johnson, a senior at Parsons High, is one of those students.

"My parents didn't go to college and this whole process is sort of new to us. So it was nice having someone who's been through it to help me along the way. If it wasn't for this  application day I probably wouldn't have applied this early," Johnson said.

Beginning in September, Spriggs began efforts to spark conversation about higher education among students. Teachers hung signs outside their classrooms stating where they attended college with the phrase 'ask me about it'. Parsons served as a pilot school for the Apply Kansas initiative, dedicating a day for Spriggs and several higher-education professionals to help students with the process. The result: all seniors in school that day applied to at least one Kansas college.

"I would have put it off til the last minute but with some help, I think it was easier," Johnson said.

Gov. Brownback declared October "College Application Month" and nationwide, November is "National Scholarship Month", so Spriggs' efforts were timely.

"We're encouraging them to apply, apply to different schools, see what they will offer, and then from there,  I think they'll be surprised. We have a lot of students that will receive financial aid. There's a lot of money out there, you just have to go out and apply for it," Spriggs said.

Apply Kansas places an emphasis on students from low-income families, first generation college students and students who may not otherwise apply to school. The steering committee plans to expand the program from bridging high school seniors to college, to college senior to the workplace. 

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