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January  05, 2009

Class of 2013, get a glimpse of your future

Jan. 24 will be a big day for some 350 young people who will jam classrooms and halls at Augustana College for the annual Open House and Scholarship Competition.

Some will be on campus for the first time, trying to take in everything at once. Others visited last summer or fall. They may already know which professors they want to talk with for a more detailed picture of majors, coursework and possibilities.

These high school students are in the homestretch of their senior year, all too aware that college decision day is getting nearer.

All will be taking one more opportunity to imagine themselves at Augustana. They'll go home also hoping to be one of those to win a $1,000 scholarship, renewable for four years.

"The point is to connect to campus," says Amy Zero, assistant director of admissions. "The perk is to walk away with additional scholarship."

These high school students are in the homestretch of their senior year, all too aware that college decision day is getting nearer. Professors from more than 30 departments - and current students -- will spend the day chatting with the seniors and answering questions such as, "What is it like to be a psychology student?"

"The day enables us to showcase the strength of our programs and introduce prospective students to the mentors with whom they will work should they choose Augie," says Jeff Abernathy, dean of the college.

While parents are finding out about Augustana at special sessions designed for them, their children will do their best to earn a scholarship in an subject they choose. Competitions vary. English may hold a writing workshop, while Geology runs an experiment and German conducts interviews -- in German.

"It introduces future students to our faculty, which truly showcases how involved they are with our current students," says Zero. "It gives students a chance to compete for scholarship money in fields and subjects which they excel."

She estimates that roughly one in four students will win a scholarship. All will be notified by March 1.

After the competition, counselors will offer an activities fair, so the seniors can see the lighter side of Augie life.

The open house can even give students a glimpse past the undergraduate years, says Jeremy Reed, director of the Career Center at Augustana.

"The day provides students with a great overview of the many career and graduate school options available in each major," he says. "Students get a glimpse into their future."

Post-grad may be too far ahead for these 18-year-olds to look this January. It will be enough for one day to know that help and encouragement will be ready at Augustana when they are.