May 2021 college acceptance and scholarship numbers are in. While we will not have the final total until August, these figures hint at the impact that the UNC College Advisory Corps had in Rockingham County during this very difficult school year.
Only today did I realize that I'd been holding a tightness in my chest waiting as the final months of school rolled to an end. How would local high school students fare, under the stress of the pandemic, in their pursuit of post-high school education? Would the numbers of college admissions and scholarships offered to Rockingham County seniors remain as impressive as years past?
Only about one-third of high schools in the U.S. have a dedicated counselor helping students prepare college and loan applications. Private schools fare much better with 68% providing a college counselor.
To compound matters for public schools, counselors regularly carry hundreds of students in their caseload, and college advising is just one of a long list of other responsibilities.
Rockingham County Education Foundation was founded in the shadow of these astonishing numbers.
I love origin stories, and RCEF's beginning is an inspiring account of how a New York Times article read by a local visionary led to a lucky tumbling of dominoes with some of the most civic-minded people, in my humble opinion, who walk this planet. Their work and significant financial investment brought the UNC College Advising Corps to Rockingham County.
Since then, our number one job has been to keep the program going. It has changed the future of hundreds of young people.
That's a story for another time.
For now, here is what we know about how local high school students fared in their quest for a higher education.
As of May 2021:
$8,972,540 scholarship dollars were offered to this Rockingham County Schools graduating class, with 845 seniors accepting offers to attend four-year or two-year universities or colleges.
I will update this post in August once we hear the final numbers, including a comparison to previous years.
These are just numbers, but they hint at the resilience and determination with which Rockingham County students respond when their community jumps in with the kind of help that gives these young adults a fighting chance for their future.
RCEF’s investment comes to about $23 per student accepted into college. Twenty-three bucks to change a future for the better.
Here's to you, RCEF donor, for helping foster a positive fate for 845 local kids.
(Photo Copyright Phawit Sopradit)