Archived Story

Service seeks to help with college entrance challenges

Published 9:20am Friday, January 4, 2013

The transition from high school to college may seem daunting for some graduating seniors, but a new service seeks to take away some of the stress involved with preparing for the next step of their education.

College Connect, a service designed to break down barriers for those hoping to graduate high school and move on to college, began when Dawson-Bryant High School teacher Monica Mahlmeister and guidance counselor Megan Lemon decided more needed to be done to prepare Lawrence County high school students for the next phase of their education.

“Our teachers are doing an amazing job, but there is only so much they can do and they are overwhelmed as it is,” Mahlmeister said. “They have to focus on teaching their curriculum and their students in the present, and there is just not enough to available to be spent preparing these students for the future.”

College Connect partnered with the Ohio Strategic Training Center to help make their goal of providing this service a reality.

Scott Howard, executive director of the training center, said he was impressed when Mahlmeister and Lemon not only presented their idea, but walked through his door for their first meeting with professional business plan in hand.

“I was impressed that these two young ladies saw a need and cared enough to take action,” Howard said. “Competition has never been greater for entry into college and anything we can do to help Lawrence County students gain a competitive edge I support.”

Howard said as an educator himself, he understands the importance of a program like College Connect to Lawrence County. He said programs like this are common in more affluent areas, and he sees College Connect as an asset to the area and one he hopes continues to grow.

College Connect’s first goal is helping students perform better on the ACT. Mahlmeister said better ACT scores can equate to thousands of extra dollars being made available to students in the form of scholarships and financial aid.

She also said with Lawrence County being a low-income area, lack of knowledge about financial aid and preparation for the ACT can be the nail in the coffin for a student’s college dream.

“We want to help students understand the complexities of financial aid forms,” Mahlmeister said. “Our ultimate goal is to have more students in our area perform at the college level.”

And to help students rise to that next level, College Connect is offering an eight-week ACT prep course designed to help students succeed on the test. The courses will take place in the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce building in South Point every Tuesday and Thursday starting Jan. 15 from 6:30-8:00 p.m.

“The next ACT will be on Feb. 9,” Mahlmeister said. “We wanted to get this course going before to get students ready and reduce test anxiety. We spent a lot of time getting top teachers from our county to provide instruction for the course. We are charging $50 per session, which is cheaper than other services offered in the area. We aren’t looking to make money – the fees are used for paying the instructors for their time.”

The ACT preparation course class size is limited to provide maximum individual attention for those taking the course. Students can sign up for individual courses if desired and are not required to take all eight to enroll.

The enrollment fee also provides students free access to an online preparation program.

Those interested in College Connect can call 740-302-3254 or email at

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