As human knowledge continues to expand rapidly, unforeseeable career possibilities are on the horizon, and post-secondary education is an important foundation for pursuing these new opportunities. According to the U.S. Dept. of Education, less than 36 % of Georgians had a college degree in 2010. Only 9.9 % of Emanuel County residents reported having a bachelor’s degree or higher on the 2008-2012 US Census Bureau’s QuickFacts for Georgia.
Many capable people avoid college because the navigation of admission, financial aid and degree requirements are often too confusing. Recognizing these barriers, 28 East Georgia State College (EGSC) administrators, faculty, staff and students recently completed a College Readiness Bus Tour. Approximately 115 Swainsboro High School students attended the presentation on February 6th.
Over nine days, 24 high schools were visited and 3,950 high school students received resources and advice to navigate a sensible, direct path to post-secondary education, regardless of the college attended. From this multi-perspective message, students could gain an understanding of why a college education can expand opportunities and improve one’s quality of life.
The visits are part of EGSC’s Complete College Georgia campus plan, a statewide effort in collaboration with the University System of Georgia and the Governor’s Office to dramatically increase the number of Georgian’s completing college degrees by 2020, which is critical to Georgia’s economic future to ensure a highly talented workforce.
Following an introductory video, high school students received first-hand advice and motivation from EGSC President Bob Boehmer. His audiences listened attentively as he shared how the knowledge explosion has dramatically changed transportation, communication, and jobs during his lifetime, and how rapidly things will change in the students’ working life. Standing among his audience, Boehmer encouraged students to, “Reject anything less than your dream.”
In addition to staff and faculty attending the tour, EGSC students balanced class and work schedules to participate in the high school visits. These confident18 to 20 year-old student leaders recounted personal experiences, shared what college is like for them, and tried to alleviate fears by answering questions from the high school students. As a wrap-up, admissions and financial aid staff provided other relevant information to aid in those respective areas.
The tours began on February 5, visiting with students at Vidalia High School, Tattnall High School and Toombs County High School. On February 6, the group visited Swainsboro High School, Jenkins County High School, and Treutlen High School. The tours continued on February 9, with visits to Hephzibah High School and Harlem High School.
On February 10, the visiting group continued with Edmund Burke Academy, Warren County High School and Academy of Richmond County. Cross-Creek High School, Glascock County High School and John Hancock were visited on February 11.
Southeast Bulloch High School and Statesboro High School were visited on February 12 and on February 13, the group visited Montgomery County High School and Wheeler County High School.
Jefferson County High School, Thomas Jefferson Academy, and Johnson County High School were visited on February 17. The tour concluded on February 18 with visits to Pinewood Christian Academy, Claxton High School and Metter High School.
Additional high schools will be added to the 2016 Bus Tour as East Georgia State College continues its efforts to educate and support the economic vitality of the region by increasing the number of college graduates in Georgia.
More information about East Georgia State College’s Complete College Georgia plan can be accessed at http://www.ega.edu/images/uploads/EGSC_CCGPlan.pdf.