Livingstone’s Upward Bound program offering ACT Prep classes Oct. 12, 19

  • Posted: Friday, September 27, 2013 1:18 a.m.

In today’s job market a college degree is almost a necessity, but getting into college is easier said than done.

To help Rowan County high school students who aspire to continue their education after they graduate, Livingstone College is offering free ACT Prep classes.

The classes are being offered by the college’s Upward Bound Program and will be held Oct. 12 and 19 from 10 a.m. to noon in Tubman Little Theater. Registration deadline is 5 p.m. Oct. 4, and space is limited to 100 students per class.

Increasingly, more high school students are taking the American College Test, or ACT, versus the more popular Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT. Proponents say the ACT is more straightforward and less intimidating than the SAT.

Tamesha M. Hughes, director of Upward Bound Classic and Upward Bound Math & Science, said the college plans to offer two county-wide SAT Prep classes in the spring. But right now she’s focusing her energy on the ACT Prep classes.

“At Livingstone College, we understand that no two students are alike and therefore it’s important for students to have a firm grasp of the tests’ structures and determine whether the ACT is a better fit for them than the SAT,” Hughes said. “It’s been said that the ACT is a ‘more straightforward, less intimidating test,’ but that depends greatly on the individual student’s academic preparation, academic strengths and weaknesses and test-taking strategies.”

Hughes said high school students are taking the ACT Prep test and the actual ACT as early as their sophomore years.

“Students who want to take the ACT should spend time every day for several months reviewing practice materials,” she said. “They should review sample test questions and learn test-taking strategies geared toward helping them individually master the highest score.”

Hughes said she couldn’t overstate the importance of doing well on either the ACT or the SAT.

“Access for higher education has opened up tremendously,” she said. “However, the ACT and SAT continue to be for many completive colleges and universities the gatekeepers to enrollment. Although GPAs play a major role in college admittance, colleges and universities tend to rely more on college-standardized tests for enrollment and when determining to whom to give scholarships.”

Hughes said 15 teachers and Livingstone College faculty members will help facilitate the ACT Prep classes by serving as test administrators or proctors. The teachers are from Salisbury High School, Rowan Early College and North Rowan High School. Parent volunteers will also pitch in to ensure the ACT Prep classes are successful, she said.

Hughes said Dr. Lelia Vickers, vice president of academic affairs, wanted the college to offer ACT Prep classes as a means to help alleviate the stress, felt by teenagers and their parents, associated with preparing for college. She said she’s grateful for the support she’s gotten from Vickers and Livingstone College President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr.

“Livingstone College is an intricate part of the Rowan County community,” Hughes said. “Our goal in offering the ACT Prep classes is twofold. Our No. 1 goal is to offer a service to the community. Our second goal is to help better prepare students who plan to attend college after they graduate. If some of the students who attend our ACT Prep classes ultimately determine they want to attend Livingstone, our efforts will be that much more enriching and rewarding.”

Hughes said she anticipates having a great turnout for the ACT Prep classes, which are being held on Saturdays.

“The goal is always to reach capacity, but at the end of the day it’s about frequently exposing students to the ACT materials and practice tests,” she said. “We know there are many students in Rowan County who have dreams of going to college after they graduate, and as an institution of higher learning that has been in Salisbury since 1882, we consider it our obligation and our privilege to do whatever we can to ensure those dreams become a reality.

”The typical high school student may wait a little late in the game to really buckle down and get serious about preparing for college, and that’s where we come in,” Hughes continued. “By offering these classes we hope to get high school students and their parents in the right mindset early in the game to better their chances.”

During the summer, 50 students participated in Livingstone’s Upward Bound Classic Program, including 19 seniors. Another 60 participated in the college’s Upward Bound Math & Science Program. All 19 seniors are now in college, Hughes said.

“This was the largest graduating class in the history of our program,” she said. “I’m confident Upward Bound will continue growing at Livingstone College, and I’m also confident that by offering free ACT and SAT prep classes, we will make a difference by increasing the pool of college-ready students from Rowan County.”

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