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High school students learn about college life at LEAD Conference

Assistant Dean of Admissions Shelby LeGardye discusses the admissions process with high school students at Mortar Board's LEAD Conference.


Lyon College students, staff and faculty gave local high schoolers an insight into college life at Mortar Board’s annual LEAD conference on Oct. 25.

Approximately 30 students from Batesville, Cave City, Cedar Ridge and Southside high schools attended the conference, which featured presentations on the admissions process, math confidence, time and stress management and more.

Senior Benjamin Norton, the secretary of Mortar Board, said the LEAD conference is designed to show high school students what leadership can look like from a college perspective.

He and fellow Mortar Board members Raul Gonzalez, Alexander Holzwarth and Kaitlyn Jackson participated in a Student Panel and shared their experiences at Lyon College, ranging from their leadership roles on campus to how they chose their majors.

Gonzalez shared that he did not know what he wanted to study when he started college and is now majoring in history and political science.

He told the high school students that they have the option at Lyon to tailor majors to their individual interests and needs. Some majors, such as anthropology and exercise science, even started as minors, he said, but were expanded into full programs due to student demand.

Holzwarth said Lyon also gives students the opportunity to conduct several undergraduate research projects and fieldwork.

“You won’t find that in other places, especially bigger schools,” he said. “Professors will know you on a first name basis here, and they will help connect you to research opportunities.”

Jackson recommended that they take advantage of extracurriculars, such as sports and clubs, during college as well.

“It gives you more opportunities to grow as a person,” she said.

The high schoolers asked the panel of Lyon students how stressful college-level classes are.

“It’s all about how you deal with stress,” Norton said.

“Everything you go through is a matter of perspective,” Gonzalez added. “Even if I’m going through a lot of stress at the moment, I try to learn what I can from that experience.”

Interim President Melissa Taverner discussed what the term “liberal arts” means, explaining that it does not refer to a particular political point of view but rather the breadth of study that students receive at Lyon.

“We are in the business of preparing our graduates not just for their chosen careers or vocations,” she said, “but also developing an engaged citizenry which can participate in the hard conversations about what is important to our country and our world.”

Assistant Dean of Admissions Shelby LeGardye asked the students what they knew about the college admissions process. She advised that they may encounter “overchoice,” a cognitive impairment caused by too many options, because of the sheer number of colleges and universities available.

She encouraged students to make a list of the things they are looking for in a college to help them narrow their search down to their top five choices.