As Jamie Stiver entered her senior year at Britton Deerfield High School, the college search process was at the front of her mind. Like many high school students, Jamie was eagerly considering her college options, the benefits of a four-year degree, financial aid opportunities and living away from home for the first time. Once she connected with Olivet College, the answers to many of her questions became clear — helping her realize that a degree from a private liberal arts college was more attainable than she thought.
“I was really nervous when I started college searching,” Jamie said. “I didn’t know what I was looking for, what I was going to study, or what was even realistically within reach, given my family’s financial state. My ‘plan B’ was to live at home and commute to a community college for an associate degree and then transfer to a four-year college. However, I desired the full college experience and searched hard for a good ‘plan A.’ I finally determined that I would enjoy a college with a small ratio between students and faculty, one with great majors that I’m interested in, growth opportunities, a close community feel and a reasonable price.
“I had seen and heard about Olivet in passing, but when the admission representative came to my school to talk about Olivet, I was inspired. For some reason, I felt the message stuck out to me and I had to learn more. I talked with the representative afterwards and realized there are more scholarship opportunities than I thought because my one and only barrier was the cost. So I took her advice, finished my application and visited Olivet. Soon after, I was invited to Scholars Day.”
Scholars Day is an invitation-only event for high-achieving students interested in attending Olivet College. Participants complete a written essay and engage with faculty through interactive academic breakout sessions, competing for a full-tuition scholarship and varying scholarship enhancements.
“Scholars Day was so much fun! I had so many ideas swimming through my head the moment I saw the essay prompt. When the essay writing session began, I didn’t have the greatest focus. After about five whole minutes of daydreaming about ideas, I looked around and found everyone writing furiously, so I knew I had to write something soon,” Jamie said. “I tried to rein in my wandering mind by organizing my brainstorming. After finishing an outline, I was ready to write. I wrote about four things that hit home the most for me: God, my family, my country and the importance of education. The rest of the event proved to be a great opportunity to meet professors, learn about the different majors, hear from the panel of the Global Citizen Honors Program students and learn more about Olivet.”
While Jamie has always been dedicated to her academics and extracurricular involvement, she says that her self-motivation and determination have grown tremendously during the COVID-19 pandemic. Facing the challenges presented by the pandemic, like online learning and rapidly changing circumstances, has given her time to reflect on her goals and connect more deeply with her motivations. Jamie successfully balances a job at McDonald’s with participation in marching band, concert band, cross country, track, the National Honors Society and dual enrollment. Even with such an impressive list of accomplishments, Jamie was surprised to hear that she had been selected to receive the full-tuition scholarship award through Scholars Day.
“I was thoroughly shocked and overjoyed to hear that I had won the full-tuition scholarship.” Jamie said. “I was not expecting to earn anything because I ran out of time to write the conclusion I was planning on writing, and therefore, had to make a quick one and write that I was unable to finish it. I spent the rest of my day after the call in utter shock and joy. A huge relief had been lifted off of not only my shoulders, but also my family. I had started my college search knowing that large scholarships were my only chance to go anywhere other than a community college. My parents were crying tears of joy and my brother was ecstatic for me. This was the happiest day of my year!”
As Jamie finishes her senior year and prepares for graduation, she is pleased to have her college plans secure. She’s focused on creating memories with high school friends and preparing to officially join the Comet family, like registering for New Student Orientation and selecting her housing preferences.
“I am really looking forward to the college classes and finding what my passion is. I’m not quite sure what I would like to major in, but I was intrigued by the business and insurance programs, so maybe something along those lines,” Jamie said. “I do know that I would like to run cross country at Olivet. I’ve run throughout high school and I’d enjoy continuing. I’m also considering joining the Difference Makers, the Women’s Leadership Institute and the Global Citizen Honors Program. I am looking forward to the community of people, the chance to improve my talents and to help others if I get the chance.”
Learn more about Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admission at 800-456-7189 or firstname.lastname@example.org.