“Do not be afraid. Do not get discouraged,” said Adjunct Professor Rene Rochester. “This is a practice test, and we need it as a diagnostic to know where we should focus for you.”
Belmont is sponsoring an ACT prep class for high school juniors and seniors, many of whom hope to enroll at the University in the next two years. Rochester leads the two-hour class, and high school students work one-on-one with Belmont students. They meet three times a week until Dec. 8, the day students take the ACT.
“I wanted to be a mentor because I remember when I was applying to go to college and preparing to take the ACT. I just want to share lessons from my situation and extend resources to help these students achieve their greatest potential and all that they want to achieve,” said Robert Wallace, a senior from Nashville majoring in business administration.
Chosen from more than 30 applicants, 22 high school students have enrolled in Belmont’s free ACT prep program. Most of them attend Hillsboro, Big Picture and Martin Luther King Jr. high schools.
In 2007, Belmont University committed to enhancing the Edgehill community through the renovation of E.S. Rose Park Sports Complex and the creation of the E.S. Rose Park Scholarship. Each year, the University awards two-full and one half tuition scholarships to graduating high school students permanently residing in Council Districts 17, 19 and parts of 18 that plan to enroll at Belmont University. The Community Outreach Scholarship is given biennially to a student within the geographic boundaries of Natchez Trace, Woodmont, Interstates 65 and 440. The half-tuition scholarship is awarded for eight consecutive semesters. Since both scholarships’ inceptions in 2007, the University has awarded some $544,902 to deserving Davidson County students.
“A lot of these students are from around that area,” said Belmont’s AmeriCorps Vista Outreach Coordinator Robby Quarles, who visited churches and high school lunchrooms to recruit students. “They have high GPAs but do not have the high test score to put them over the edge to make them competitive and qualify for scholarships, so we are hoping to give them that competitive boost to get into college and Belmont.”
Among them is Hillsboro High School senior Michael Powers, who lives across 15th Avenue South from the University and plans to apply to Belmont. “I need to get my score higher, and I think I am going to do really well because I have heard good things about Dr. Rene.”
The high school students have learned time management skills as well as test taking strategies.
“I have learned to stay focused,” said Arian Rucker, a junior at Hillsboro High School. “This (class) is motivating me to keep practicing, and it has made me realize Belmont is a great Christian environment and a good fit for me.”