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Salisbury Academy launches Jaguar Tracks alumni and college prep support services

SALISBURY — The high school years are a time of growth, finding independence and self-discovery. Yet along with these positives, the process of preparing for and applying to go to college can be a source of frustration for students and their families.

“Knowing how, when and where to apply, and even how to prepare in the years leading up to that point, is often overwhelming,” said Allison Doby, director of admission and alumni support at Salisbury Academy.

To provide support for academy alumni and students in the larger community, Salisbury Academy is launching Jaguar Tracks, an alumni support program offering resources and college counseling in individual and group sessions open to both alumni and others.

“Through Jaguar Tracks programming, we can reduce the stress that students and parents feel during this time and allow high school students to enjoy what should be a very happy time in their lives,” said Doby.

Individual sessions have begun at Salisbury Academy, with each tailored to the student’s needs, including help with the application, essay writing, finding the right college, and understanding the majors and programs colleges offer.

The academy recently held a coffee and conversation session on financial aid led by Kelli Hand, director of financial aid at Catawba College.

A series of group ACT prep sessions convinced alumni Greyson Smith about the value of the program.

“Greyson has already asked to sign up for more sessions,” said Laura Smith, his mother. “I’m so grateful that Salisbury Academy has the resources to help us navigate the college admission system.”

With 11 years of experience in college counseling in Rowan-Salisbury high schools and at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Doby has witnessed the breadth of need for help in this process.

“Students put a lot of pressure on themselves and feel pressure from their surroundings to distinguish themselves and do all the right things,” said Doby.

For parents, unless they’ve had an older child recently go through the admissions process, searching for scholarships and financial aid, helping with high school resume and essay writing, and deciding which colleges to visit can all leave you at a loss, Doby says.

“Even when you figure all of these things out, they change quickly. If you haven’t gotten your information in the past year, unfortunately it’s likely not current anymore,” said Doby.

Beverly Fowler, head of school at Salisbury Academy, said relieving the anxiety of college prep for students and families allows the youths to focus on what is most important.

“Students with a strong four-year plan in high school can invest their energy in finding out who they are as a person, gaining hands-on experience through volunteering and internships, and building a foundation on which their postsecondary plans become achievable.”

Families interested in learning more should contact the office of admissions at Salisbury Academy and visit the Jaguar Tracks page at salisburyacademy.org/alumni/support.cfm.

“The addition of Jaguar Tracks further enhances the Salisbury Academy tradition of preparing leaders and children who love to learn,” said Smith.

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