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College Boot Camp kicks off senior year

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Darlington School seniors started their final year of high school Monday morning with College Boot Camp.

Admissions officials from a number of colleges and universities in the South, from University of Georgia to Rhodes College, came to the Huffman Athletic Center to offer guidance and tips to students on their next big step. After a panel discussion on applying to college, students attended breakout sessions on a range of topics on postsecondary education.

Amanda Sale, the senior associate director of admissions for UGA, gave prospective bulldogs a look at the school and Athens, which has more “manbuns, beards and baristas” than any other campus in the U.S., she laughed. She spoke of the city’s arts scene and downtown activity to supplement students’ time studying and attending football games.

The Double Dogs program, which started just over a year ago, allows students to earn a master’s degree in five years, Sale said, and has been a popular option.

Looking beyond UGA, Sale advised students that when choosing their college, look at freshman to sophomore retention rate, graduation rate and job and career outcomes of graduates.

Robert Barkley, assistant to associate vice president of enrollment at Clemson University, encouraged students that when on their official tours of campuses, go out on their own and explore. During campus tours, students will get the scripted message about a college, he said. He told students to go speak with their peers already at the school and ask them questions. Also, “be sure to check out the food,” Barkley said.

Another tip Barkley gave Darlington seniors was for them to keep in mind how their behavior during an overnight visit to a campus could negatively impact their acceptance.

Darlington Athletic Director Eddie Guth shared his experience as a college football player at Rhodes College in Memphis to provide an example of a path to college athletics beyond Division I. He reminded students to be open with coaches about what they need to feel comfortable at their school.

At a big school most athletes are just another number, Guth said, but playing a smaller college affords more individual guidance and care from coaches and professors. The support received at smaller schools keeps students there, he said.