Our Community is at a Turning Point

I thought I had experienced the village in the 70’s as a student at Carolina.  Then, the old-timers corrected me, saying, “That wasn’t the village!  It was back in the 50’s.  Or the 60’s. When we were in school!” and so it goes.  We do agree on this:  the village experience of Chapel Hill has passed. We’ve grown from a small town to a large town  and now a small city.  Our school district reflects this. Once, we had a high school, Chapel Hill High. We were undeniably a small town then. When East Chapel Hill High came, we had become a large town. with a 3rd high school in the district, Carrboro High, we have grown into a small city.  

People came from other parts of the state to shop, eat, and to spend a day in Chapel Hill, as a culturally enhancing experience once.  Now they bypass us, going to Durham’s Southpoint Mall, and beyond, for good reasons.  We no longer have a monopoly on culture.  Our community is at a turning point.  Our response to growth determines whether we can compete successfully in the region versus being surrounded by municipalities who better adapt to social, political, and economic changes.  Otherwise, Chapel Hill may be relegated to a has-been city, living off its past glories.  

Reminiscing has its place, but not at the expense of Chapel Hill’s necessary economic growth. Durham has learned that painful lesson and has matured as a community.  Can we?


4 'Must-Do' Tips for Applying to College

College application season is upon us, and seniors from around the area are looking for higher educational opportunities that will take them into their bright futures. Having worked with thousands of families during this process, I’ve had the unique experience of seeing what works and what does not when it comes to getting those compelling applications out the door. For you, dear readers, I’ve put together a few of my favorites. Enjoy.
Tip 1: Organize your student’s college application process:
a. Find your student’s natural areas of interest and preferred learning environment to determine if a technical school or a liberal arts school is the best fit.
b. Make college visits to schools of interest. Be sure to include small, medium and large schools.
c. Identify 3 schools to apply to, including a reach, a competitive and a safety school.
d. Put a calendar together indicating all important dates. Try to get the application complete and mailed at least one week ahead of the deadline.
Tip 2: Present your student in the best light to the teachers and counselors who will be writing recommendations.
a. Make an appointment to get to know your counselor better.
b. Give both teachers and counselors a month lead time to write a recommendation.
c. In a folder, provide your teacher and counselor with a resume of your activities.
d. In a folder, provide the teacher with SPECIFIC examples from his/her class of times when you exceeded the expectation or did something spectacular.
e. Be sure the say “Thank You” – it makes a difference, especially when the colleges call back with questions!
Tip 3: Differentiate your student from those with similar grades and courses.
a. Help your child find their passion and articulate how they have pursued it. 
b. A dynamic essay is the one of the best and easiest ways to set yourself apart from the competition. Read this article on writing essays.
c. Make a point to get in front of the admissions department numerous times. The STUDENT should also call the Admissions Office with questions and establish a phone relationship with the person assigned to their territory.
Tip 4: Know ways to get money for college:
a. Privately through associations and corporations. 
This is the best website for private scholarship information.
b. From the school itself. 
If you have a special talent, contact the department so you can meet with them when you visit. Contact the school’s financial aid office about scholarships.
c. From the government:
Free Application for Federal Student Aid: This needs to be filled out as soon as possible to gain access to the most money. However, if you are living even slightly above the poverty line the chance of receiving money is slim.

Other tips for students? Questions about these ones? Leave them below in the comments!