The Mississippi School of the Arts (MSA) has worked toward college and career readiness since its inception. In 2014, the school implemented a program, Senior Seminar, as an effort to assist students with designated time for planning of their next steps. The program is demonstrating success beyond expectations. Since 2014, there has been a $2 million increase each year in scholarship offers for their students. In 2016, 65 graduates received $8.6 million in scholarship offers, up from $6.5 million the prior year.
MSA Seniors receive 94 minutes of instruction/workshop time per week in the fall of the academic year. Students work with the school guidance counselor and other staff on activities that include topics such as:
- conduct college research
- apply for college
- apply for scholarships
- participate in mock interviews with community members
- write and edit essays
- hear from college students, college professors, and arts professionals
- learn about time and stress management
- take ACT preparation workshops
- learn about FAFSA and student loan realities
“This was an idea that came from a site visit to another residential arts program in Louisiana as a way to help our students get ready for the next steps. It gave them an opportunity to avoid procrastination and organized their time toward positive planning for their futures,” said Suzanne Hirsch, Executive Director. “This is an easily replicated program that any school could offer their students in hopes to increase exposure to the many possibilities for their future. In the spring, students are able to better focus on graduation rather than college applications.”
The Mississippi School of the Arts is a statewide residential school that will provide advanced programs of study in music, theatre, visual arts, dance, literary arts, and media arts for artistically gifted eleventh and twelfth grade students.