Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The thoughts of Gabe...

I have been with tnAchieves since my senior year in high school which feels like forever ago. And since then, and through out my college career, tnAchieves has been a super big help with a lot of things, especially financially since I couldn't make up my mind with what I want to do. Going from a music major, to business administration, to finally Chinese and later planning on joining the air force has been a very smooth transition due to tnAchieves . And when going to meetings or randomly seeing my mentors, I could always expect a friendly smile. And even sometimes food!!! tnAchieves is the definition of amazing!!!!

-Gabe Ware, tnAchieves Ambassador

Monday, July 30, 2012

7 tips for buying college text books!

We have a lot of questions about how to save money buying college text books. They can be as expensive as tuition sometimes! Here are some of the tips one of our Ambassadors, Virginia Hughes, had for buying books. 

Tip 1:
Buy Books Early! 
The later you wait the more likely you'll have to wait for books to be shipped from the main campus, and you'll have to wait in the monsterous line that happens the days right before classes start. 

Tip 2:
Make Sure You Know What Books You Need!
No sense in buying books and not getting the ones you need. So log on to the bookstore website through your school's website. When you reach the bookstore website you'll find an option to look up what books are required for you classes and teachers. This is helpful because then you don't have to worry about talking to the bookstore people that sometimes don't know about all classes. 

Tip 3:
Look Online!
Price shock will probably come when you realize how much you'll be spending on books from the bookstore. So look online at some websites like Chegg.com or eBay. Sometimes you'll save a couple of dollars to even half the price. So be sure to look into that.

Tip 4:
Think About Older Editions!
Some books can be bought online as last years editions. They will have the same information but just different page numbers and you can save a bundle that way too.

Tip 5:
Facebook Is Your Friend!
There are several Facebook groups through the schools. So make sure to look them up. These groups have special sections on them for buying and selling textbooks. Look on these group pages and also on bulletin boards posted throughout the school! People are always trying to sell their books.

Tip 6:
Be Prepared To Be Required To Buy New Books!
There are some classes that require you have the new books in plastic and sadly there is no way out of this one. Some of the books are the workbooks for labs and of course for classes like A & P. So don't be surprised if you have to buy at least one NEW book. 

Tip 7:
Rember You Can Rent.
Renting books is an option through the school and some websites also. Renting allows you to pay less and not have to worry about the bookstore not buying your books back. So consider this option if you find cash is low. 

-Virginia Hughes, tnAchieves Ambassador

Monday, June 4, 2012

Ambassadors at the Mountain Challenge

Last Friday (June 1), we had our first Ambassador event for the 2012-2013 school year. This event was intended for our new Ambassadors to meet our old Ambassadors and to gain a better understanding of the Ambassador program and their expectations. 

We went to Maryville College to participate in the Mountain Challenge. We went through a series of team building and leadership activities in small groups. At the end, we all came together with the task of getting every group member over a 13 foot wall. It was really rewarding when we were able to get everyone over. We learned how important it is to be part of a team and how to think outside the box to find solutions. We also learned not to be afraid to admit times we have failed and to be able to identify how we have overcome those times. 

All these lessons will help our Ambassadors be better leaders as they welcome the incoming freshmen to college during our tnAchieves New Student Orientations. We are so proud of our Ambassadors! This is why we are here!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Its College Application Time!

As the tnAchieves College Application Deadline of April 13th steadily approaches, choosing your post-secondary institution can be an equally stressful and exciting experience. 
When choosing where to attend college, I had only two schools in mind: a large state school that was hours from home, and a small private university in my hometown. I remember sitting with my parents, weighing the options, discussing every detail—how much was tuition if I did not have a scholarship? How many hours a week would I need to work and how many hours of classes would I take? Most importantly, was the school right for the type of student that I am? This last question proved to be the deciding factor and I chose the private university. I knew that the smaller school was the best choice for me, that I would receive the hands-on support I needed, and that I could utilize the scholarship offered that was not available for me at the larger university.
In high school, I sat through classes that had an average of around 25 students each. In college, I was in a class with 4. My professors knew my name before the first day.  When I missed a class, they would call my cell phone during class time to ask where I was. This was quite a change from graduating from a high school with over 3,000 students.
When I hear the reasons why many students choose to attend community college before transferring to a four-year institution, I see many similarities in their decision-making with my own. Community colleges emphasize intimate learning environments, maintain student activities on a more manageable scale, and allow students to earn their degree in a timely, affordable manner.
I have friends and family who attended larger schools, had wonderful experiences, and have graduated into very successful jobs. The same story goes for classmates from my smaller college. The key to finding your best fit is being self-aware as a student, knowing what you can and cannot handle, and knowing what your options are. Take campus tours. Sit with an advisor to discuss your options. Speak with other students about their experiences. And get those college applications in by April 13th!

-Kaci Murley
Memphis/Shelby Achieves Coordinator

Monday, February 6, 2012

College Visits

Your high school career is coming to an end and college is just around the corner.  Do you know which college is the right college for you?  Now is the time to schedule college visits so you know you will be attending the college that is the best choice for you.  Most high schools will excuse your absence or you can make visits during spring break.

Make the most of your trip!
Start with the admissions office.  Find out if the college offers the major you are interested in.  Meet with a faculty member from that department to insure that department will help you achieve your educational goals.  You may even be able to sit in on a class.
Tour the campus to get a feel for the atmosphere.  Pay attention to the bulletin boards to see what activities are scheduled on campus.  Ask for information about clubs and organizations that are active on campus.  Talk with the current students.  They can share their experiences and most are willing to give you advice and share their honest opinions about the school.  Figure out if this is a place you want to spend the next few years of your life!
Deciding which college to attend is a very important decision.  Now is the time to start gathering as much information as you can so you make the right choice!  Let the tnAchieves’ staff know if you need any help scheduling a college visit.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Get Involved in College!

Going to class and getting good grades is a great accomplishment, but in order to get your "dream job" when you graduate, you need to get involved in as many extracurricular activities as you can! For starters, tnAchieves has an Ambassador program and a Peer2Peer Mentoring program. The tnAchieves Ambassadors get to participate in events and learn leadership skills that they can carry with them wherever they go. This semester, the Ambassadors are going to a ropes course in Maryville to learn what it takes to be a leader and to be part of a team. Ambassadors also serve as mentors for our Peer2Peer Mentoring program. As mentors, the Ambassadors are able to to share how they got through their first year of college to other tnAchieves students who are just entering college.

All of the community colleges have some sort of leadership programs or ways to get involved, so look out for these opportunities! Whether it is with tnAchieves, your college, your church, or your community, it is important to get involved. Share your talents and learn from others. These types of experiences are excellent resume builders and will pay off in the future! Remember... you have NO Excuses!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Memphis/Shelby County Update

Things are definitely rockin’ and rollin’ in Shelby County as we begin the first year of Memphis/Shelby Achieves! As of our December deadline, we received almost double the number of student applications than originally anticipated. We worked hard through the holidays with school counselors and mentors to make sure everyone was informed and ready for the first team meetings.
Last week, we held the last of 9 meetings at Southwest Tennessee Community College and Tennessee Technology Center. Students, parents, and mentors came together for a crash course in free college.  Amidst the chaos of 2 school districts, 52 high schools, 1900 applicants and 204 mentors, there was one message that was clear to all: Memphis/Shelby is ready to increase our number of college graduates.  
To the community organizations and businesses who are providing funding and mentors, to the guidance counselors and parents who encouraged their children to apply, to each person who has helped launch a successful beginning to Memphis/Shelby Achieves, there is only one thing to say: “Thank ya! Thank ya very much!”   
-Kaci Murley

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The FAFSA Blues

As a tnAchieves Scholar you know that our most important date while in high school is getting your FAFSA submitted by February 1. FAFSA can be scary, but all you have to do is jump in and it will be completed before you know it! Just go to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/.

Are you struggling with the FAFSA? Do you need help? Don't know where to begin?
NO EXCUSES! tnAchieves has set up FAFSA Days at many of the community colleges for this very reason. The dates, locations and times are listed below:

January 21st at Walters State (Morristown campus): 9:00-11:00 a.m.
January 21st at Roane State (Oak Ridge campus): 9:00-11:00 a.m.
January 22nd at Pellissippi State (Magnolia campus): 12:30-2:30 p.m.
January 22nd at Southwest (Welcome Center Farris Building, 2nd Floor Computer Lab): 2:30-4:30 p.m.

January 28th at Roane State (Harriman campus): 9:00-11:00 a.m.
January 28th at Cleveland State (College Goal Sunday, Career Education Building, Rooms 108-109): 9:00-11:00 a.m.
January 29th at Pellissippi State (Hardin Valley campus): 12:30-2:30 p.m. 
January 29th at Southwest (Welcome Center Farris Building, 2nd Floor Computer Lab): 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Be sure to have the following information with you when you come:

·        Your parent/guardian(s)
·        Your social security number
·        Your driver’s license
·        Your W-2 forms (if you work)
·        Your parent/guardian(s)’s income tax return (if you have it)
·        Your alien registration card or permanent residence card (if you are not a U.S. Citizen)

Remember, FAFSA Days are not mandatory. They are just helpful for you and your family!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Focus on college NOW!

Senior year of high school is hard enough... why is it important to focus on college now? You may ask yourself, "Can't I just wait until I graduate and worry about it then?" The answer is NO. Although you might think you have alot of time, this last semester of high school is going to fly by, and there are many important things that you need to do before you will be ready for college. To get you started, I have listed three of the most important steps below:

1. Collect the information you will need to fill out your FAFSA by Feb. 1
Filling out FAFSA is crucial to receiving as much funding as possible for your education so you do not have to worry about college tuition. As a tnAchieves Scholar, you should know that FAFSA must be completed by February 1. To fill out FAFSA, you will need your parents/gaurdians, your social security number, your driver's license, your W-2 forms (if you are employed), your parents/guardians tax returns, and your alien registration card or permanent resident card (if you are not a US citizen). For more information on FAFSA, visit http://www.tnachieves.org/, look at your mentor handbook, and make sure you attend the January team meetings at your high school!

2. Decide which college you would like to attend and do some research on the programs they offer
tnAchieves offers scholarships to community college. Ask your guidance counselor for information on the community colleges around you or visit their websites online. Although you will have to take several general courses when you begin college, it is a good idea to have an idea of what careers you are interested. This will give you the chance to research that career and what classes must be taken to have that job!

3. Apply to school
It is not to early to apply to school! The sooner you apply to college, the sooner you can get in all the required information so you are not overwhelmed during the summer. It is also good to apply early because you can register for your fall classes and get the class times that work best for you!
Remember... with tnAchieves, you have NO Excuses!