On Wednesday, October 25, Governor John Carney and Education Secretary Dr. Susan Bunting visited Milford High School as part of College Application Week. Along with Mayor Bryan Shupe and Representative Charles Postles, the Governor and Secretary spoke with students who were completing college applications, learning more about what they knew about the college process.
“One of the main things I asked them was what they knew about the SEED and INSPIRE programs,” Governor Carney said. “The SEED program began ten years ago when another Milfordian, Ruth Ann Minner, was governor. SEED provides two years of college at Del-Tech which can then be transferred to a four-year college while the Inspire program provides two years of college at Del-State. What surprised me as I walked around the room talking to students is that every one of them knew about the programs. This is unusual and Milford is the first school I have visited where every single student I spoke to was aware of these very valuable programs.”
College Application Week is part of a statewide College Application Month for the Delaware Goes to College Initiative. The goal of Delaware Goes to College is to increase the college enrollment rate to 60 percent by 2018 by focusing on four main areas which include College Access and Success, College Affordability, Higher Education Partnerships and Communications. The Delaware Department of Education hopes to eliminate the number of college-ready students who do not apply for college by providing the guidance and support they need to apply, enroll and attend post-secondary school. From October 16 through November 17, over 40 high schools throughout the state will participate in the initiative.
In his comments, Governor Carney was referring to the Student Excellence Equals Degree (SEED) program which allows students to take two years of college at Del-Tech tuition-free. Students may use the program to complete one of the many associate’s degrees offered through Del-Tech and transfer those credits to any other four-year college. They may also use SEED to enter the University of Delaware Associate in Arts Program, complete their first two years at Del-Tech and then transfer to the Newark Campus for their final two years. The Inspire Scholarship at Delaware State College can only be used at that school and provides two years of free tuition.
“At a time when higher education is more important than ever, it is more expensive than ever,” Governor Carney said. “That’s why Delaware developed these programs to help students begin their college journey. There are advocates to change these to four-year programs for students who demonstrate need. Although there are many students taking advantage of two free years of education, we are, unfortunately, losing a lot of them after two years because they simply can’t afford to go on. Many of these are first generation college students who realize that education will carry them farther in the world. We want to do all we can to eliminate any barriers they may face.”
As he walked around the room, Governor Carney spoke to the students about what they planned to major in at college and where they were sending applications. He said he told them that the essay was the most important part of their application and that admissions offices read hundreds of them, so it is important to make their essay stand out.
“If you have a story, tell it,” Governor Carney said. “I grew up in a house with eight brothers and sisters. I had an elderly aunt who lived with us. With all those people in the house, I learned a lot about compromise, working together and teamwork. To me, it was just how I lived and nothing special, but to college admissions officers, it was important. Students need to talk about a barrier they have overcome, a particularly unique experience or describe themselves in a way that makes them stand out from the hundreds, even thousands of other applications that cross an admissions officer’s desk.”
As the governor walked around the library, speaking to students, staff members were on hand to help guide students through the college application process. Many students asked questions as they worked their way through college applications and wrote the essays that would accompany them.
“At Milford High School, our goal is to provide opportunities for all students to attend post-secondary education, whether this be in 2- or 4-year college programs or technical training programs,” said MHS administration. “We are dedicated to providing students options as they pursue their post-secondary goals and College Application Week is a great example of how our staff support this goal.”
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