OTTUMWA — Fifty-eight OHS students attended a workshop at Indian Hills Community College Thursday to learn about classes, scholarships and life on campus.
“Everybody seems to be excited and engaged, and they’re learning about different scholarships and support programs,” said Barb Hanson, GEAR UP coordinator at OHS. “Which is important, because we wanna make sure they’re successful. We don’t just want to get them to enroll, we want to make sure they persist and graduate.”
The students in attendance were OHS students who plan on going to IHCC. Some have already applied and been accepted, while those who haven’t were given the opportunity to apply.
Macy Cox, who wants to ultimately earn a Ph.D. in criminal psychology, had multiple reasons for choosing Indian Hills.
“It’s close to home,” she said. “And I know the dropout rate is higher if you immediately go to a four-year school. So I figured it would be better to just dip my toes in the water before jumping right in.”
Cox was also excited by various scholarship opportunities she didn’t know Indian Hills provided. Due to the fact she’s involved in GEAR UP, and has taken Indian Hills courses through OHS, Cox’s scholarships will total $2,700. That’s out of $5,400 for in-state tuition. She applied for school during the workshop.
Latoya Heins, who was accepted to IHCC on Wednesday, chose the school for similar reasons. She found the workshop informed her on scholarships she didn’t even know existed, which got her excited to begin. She wants to someday work as a substance-abuse social worker.
“I know I don’t want to deal with big families, and with substance abuse you work one-on-one with people, and that’s something I’m more comfortable with,” she said.
Both Cox and Heins realized there was a lot about Indian Hills they simply didn’t know. Apart from scholarships and other resources the school provides, the students learned a lot about campus culture, such as the fact Indian Hills is spread across three campuses and has two different mascots, the Falcon and the Warrior.
After a few talks given by Indian Hills administrators and students, the OHS students were given a tour of both campuses and allowed to see the various facilities.
“A big part of today is just letting kids know that opportunities are here in Ottumwa, especially for those kids who aren’t sure if they’re going to go to college,” Hanson said. “The majority of the students don’t know what their next steps are, which is very normal. A lot of people don’t know.”
Many of the students already seemed at home. They were attentive during the presentations and were eager to get pictures with an IHCC promotional backdrop.
Cox’s attitude toward her future degree summed up the atmosphere quite well.
“It seems interesting and fun,” she said. “Shoot for the stars.”