Smyrna High School seniors received a helping hand with the world of higher education last week during the school's College Application Week.

SHS is one of 20 schools in Delaware participating in the program this year; Smyrna High School and Lake Forest were the pilot programs last year.

Smyrna High School Guidance Counselor Jennifer Davis said the program is a week-long event at the school. Each day the students, including underclassmen, participate in various activities. One day teachers talked to students about their respective schools and college experiences. Another day students and staff were able to wear college gear. There was even a door decorating contest. The focus of the week, of course, was giving seniors the chance to apply to college.

Davis said the lab time gives students chances to not only apply but to ask questions regarding the applications.

"Last year it went great," Davis said. "We had 226 students apply to 115 different schools for a total of 449 applications."

This year Davis said the school didn't change much since the pilot program in 2012 was such a success. To prepare for College Application Week, Davis said English teachers have been working with seniors on essays for the college applications. So far, the program has gone well again this year.

"This is important because it increases access to resources and computer time to submit applications," Davis said. "Some students don't have access to computers at home. Some students are so involved [at school] with different clubs, sports and classes they don't have time outside of school to apply."

The Delaware Department of Education is sponsoring the event as part of the state's College Access Grant Challenge initiative and worked with the Institute of Public Administration on the project.

"We want every student to graduate with the ability to choose the life path that is best for him or her. Many students don't recognize college as an option because the application process is new and unknown," Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said via a press release. "This program addresses that hurdle – ensuring that students have the opportunity and support in the application process. We will continue our support to students through the year, including providing assistance with applying for financial aid."

Smyrna High School senior Morgan Popovich took advantage of College Application Week by applying to colleges during school hours. She plans on applying to six schools including University of Delaware, University of Virginia and Salisbury University.

"It's good because people like me who are busy get to go into the computer lab and apply to colleges," Popovich said. "It's a long process and I want to get it done."

Senior Heather Tolliver is using the time in the computer lab to apply to University of Delaware, George Mason and Regent University. Like Popovich, Tolliver has been too busy to sit down and apply to colleges.

"It's nice for the AP [Advanced Placement] students who don't have time to be able to do it in school," Tolliver said.

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