Okemos High School offers college preparation for students and parents

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By Jennifer Swanchara
Meridian Times staff writer

On Oct. 16, Okemos High School welcomed College Planning Help owner Frank Bernier to speak with students and parents of all grades about the road to college.

Bernier has more than 30 years of experience with college admissions having worked at Western Michigan University, Saginaw Valley State University and Michigan State University.

After leaving his position as director of admissions and financial aid for the medical school at Michigan State University, Bernier said he felt the need to work with the parents of high school students because he feels they are the lost souls.

“We talk about admissions, searching for scholarships, financial aid and the little traps to avoid,” said Bernier. “There are a lot of tips and a majority of them are dispelling myths.”

According to Katie Alexander, counselor at Okemos High School, students and parents are really focused on achievement.

“I really like attending these because I feel like you can never learn enough about college admissions,” said Alexander. “Things change so quickly and 90 percent of the students that come in are asking college related questions.”

“When (students) come in, I ask them what colleges they are looking at and I actually use Frank’s college admissions guidelines. It’s a good gauge to look at their ACT score and GPA to see if they are in the range of people who are typically admitted to the school.”

Okemos High School has nearly 1,300 students with a 98% college enrollment rate, yet not all students know where to begin.

After Bernier’s college preparation presentation, OHS junior Allysah Benedict said she still didn’t know what to do to prepare for college.

For students, Bernier said his emphasis is on leverage by knowing your GPA and ACT score. According to Bernier, the more leverage a student has, the more likely a student is to succeed in college.

“I never use the words ‘your chance of getting in.’ I don’t believe in that, either you are or you’re not admitted.”

Bernier said he encourages parents to be aware of ‘the game’ freshman year and from there it is a building process as time goes on.

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