Lincoln High School counselor Deana Harris, left, looks over University of Detroit Mercy reading materials with senior Robert  Harris Oct. 21.

Lincoln High School counselor Deana Harris, left, looks over University of Detroit Mercy reading materials with senior Robert Harris Oct. 21.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Local students learn about college options

October is College Month in Michigan

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published October 27, 2021


WARREN — Applying to colleges can be an exciting time for students, but it also can be stressful.

To help make the process run a little more smoothly, Michigan has deemed October College Month, which is part of the American College Application Campaign.

The goal of the national initiative is to provide every graduating high school senior the opportunity to apply to college and for financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

FAFSA is a form completed by current and prospective college students in the U.S. to determine their eligibility for student financial aid. Earlier this month, Fitzgerald Public Schools held a virtual FAFSA night to help students learn more about the procedure.

“There are a lot of unknowns with our families, and we’re just trying to get the information out to them,” Fitzgerald Public Schools Superintendent Kimberly Pawlukiewicz said. “We try to help them find ways to fund and finance their postsecondary education. Our goal is to have as many kids have a post-secondary plan and know there are a lot of choices.”

That includes attending a community college, four-year university, or a trade program. Some students also enter the workforce right away or join the military.

On Oct. 21, a group of Lincoln High School seniors met in person with University of Detroit Mercy Director of Admissions Matt Fortescue to learn more about the college, their programs, accelerated options, scholarships and financial aid. Lincoln counselors Deana Harris and Martha Hoffman were present as well. Lincoln is part of Van Dyke Public Schools.

“We want to give them exposure to life after high school to know their options,” Harris said.  

“Lincoln invited me out,” Fortescue said. “I want them to hear about the programs we offer. A lot of students think about state schools. We are a really good, small private program. We only have 3,000 undergraduate students. A lot of students benefit from that. We have really good scholarship and financial aid programs.”

The university, located at 4001 W. McNichols Road in Detroit, offers programs in nursing, architecture, business administration, pre-dental, psychology, and more. Several students asked Fortescue questions about the campus. Some said they were going to apply to the university. According to Fortescue, the college is currently requiring students to have the COVID-19 vaccine, although students can apply for an exemption.

Lincoln senior Robert Harris is planning to apply there.

“I heard it’s a good school for nursing,” said Harris, who wants to become a nurse. “I’ve always wanted to help people.”

He said he is also applying to Schoolcraft College in Livonia. He already submitted his FAFSA application with help from Harris. He said he is hoping that college will be “challenging.”

Senior Destiny Coleman also attended last Thursday’s presentation. While she said she will apply to the University of Detroit Mercy, she would like to attend college in California to pursue art.

“It’s better for me to go out there where there is high-end art,” Coleman said. “People from California are successful in that area.”

Senior Kaylee Chandler appreciated Fortescue’s presentation because she was able to learn a lot about the school. She likes the fact the school is located close by. Chandler aspires to become an English teacher.

“My teachers, they’re kind of like a second family for me,” she said. “My teachers have shaped me to become who I am. I want to do that for someone else.”

Oakland University and Wayne State University are among the colleges in which Chandler plans to apply. She admits to being “a little scared” to start college, but remembers she felt that way when starting high school.

“I think it was very informative,” senior Teriona Hunter said of the presentation. “I applied for FAFSA. Basically, FAFSA is student aid. They give you a certain amount of money for college depending on your financial situation.”

Of her decision to attend college, Hunter, who is the Van Dyke Public Schools Board of Education student representative, said, “I want better for my life. I want to do something with it. I want to major in finance and become a financial advisor or accountant. I just love math. I like working with money.”

A representative from Kalamazoo College was scheduled to visit the district Oct. 22. Wayne State University is scheduled to visit Oct. 28.