College Night draws Michiana students

Published 8:07 pm Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Students and parents teamed up for SMC’s College Night to browse higher-education opportunities, get more information on financial aid and tour SMC student housing. Leader photo/ALY GIBSON

Southwestern Michigan College’s Dowagiac campus welcomed hundreds of high school juniors and seniors, with their parents, Wednesday evening for College Night.

More than 40 colleges and universities set up booths in the gymnasium of Charles O. Zollar Building, full to the brim with information on programs and financial aid for prospective students and their parents. Workshops for financial assistance and tours of student housing on SMC’s campus were also offered to guests.
“I think this kind of opportunity is great,” Karie Dussel, of Cassopolis, said.

Dussel and her son, Mike, a senior at Ross Beatty Junior/Senior High School, attended so that he could get a better understanding of the environmental studies programs offered at schools like Michigan State University and Michigan Tech.

“I wanted to be able to ask them what they offer and how that fits with my plans,” Mike said.

Dussel also explained that she was glad financial aid information would be available.

“I’d like to know what kind of scholarships he can get when it comes time to apply,” she said.

Bridgman resident Ashley Happ, and her mother, Donna, had the same idea. Happ already graduated from high school and wanted to know what she could do to go back to school.

“I’m looking at SMC, Western (Michigan University) and Purdue,” Happ said. “I just wanted to see what everyone offered and go from there.”

St. Joseph High School junior Becca Lhotka attended College Night with her friend in order to better understand her options of becoming a professional baker.

“I wanted to look into Baker and Kendall and this was the chance I had to see them both at the same time,” Lhotka said. “It’s been really helpful.”

Kathy Jacobson, director of admissions for Baker College, said she was glad to have the opportunity to answer questions and clarify information for prospective students.

“It’s good to begin the process early of trying to find what colleges you are interested in and confirm visits or talk to us individually,” Jacobson said. “We want to ensure that students who leave college are prepared to enter the workforce and this is that first step.”

Participants in College Night included Adrian College, Andrews University, Ball State University, Bethel College, Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, Indiana University/South Bend, Kendall College of Art & Design, Lake Superior State University, Michigan State University, Purdue University, Saint Mary’s College, Trine University, University of Michigan and Western Michigan University.