Dyanmic Mentorship – UNITE Inc.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking with the founder of UNITE Inc, Mr. Travis Smith. UNITE was founded in 2011 with a mission to promote leadership, scholarship, and social awareness while motivating and empowering youth to dream and achieve educational success.

UNITE provides a holistic mentoring approach that focuses on college preparation for high school students and college retention for undergraduate students. UNITE students participate in various activities including community service, professional development workshops, and an annual Spring Break HBCU College Tour.

To become a member of UNITE, incoming high school juniors may submit an application during the month of April, located on unitementoring.com. Students will be required to provide an unofficial transcript, essay, and a letter of recommendation. College students may get involved in the college retention program at Alabama State University by contacting Mr. Sharod Campbell at sharodcampbell@unitementoring.com.

UNITE Inc. intends to expand the organization further by offering career development services and graduate school preparation. Follow UNITE on Facebook for new programs, success stories, or to donate!

Watch success stories here.

Facebook: UNITE INC

~Dr. Owens



The Importance of College Visits

There are over 5,000 college and universities in the US, so students have a lot of choices. No matter which school students select, I ALWAYS encourage them to visit each institution. You may think,  a school, is a school, is a school. But, like all individuals are unique, institutions are as well. For example, at the University at Albany students classified as resident freshmen are not allowed to purchase a parking pass for their vehicle. Therefore, they are not allowed to park on campus. On the other hand, at Paul Quinn College all students must wear business casual clothing from 8am to 5:30pm. These are some details that you may not consider when applying online to colleges or perusing their websites. But, during a campus visit, you could observe environments and student’s behaviors. Here are some services and offices to check out when touring each campus. I have also added some potential questions to ask staff and faculty.

Residence Halls 


  • Are all halls co-ed or single-sex?
  • Which dormitories have stores or dining halls?
  • Can I have a room with one, two, three, four, or more roommates?
  • Do I have to vacate my room for each school break?
  • Is it possible to have a private restroom?
  • What items am I not allowed to have in the dorms?
  • Are students responsible for cleaning common areas?
  • Who is a Resident Assistant (RA) and what is their role?
  • Will there be a phone line and cable television in my room?
  • What are the prices of each residence hall?
  • Are upperclassmen allowed to reside on-campus?



  • What are the library borrowing policies?
  • How many libraries are located on campus?
  • Are there study rooms available in each library?
  • How can librarians assist me?
  • How much are printing fees?
  • Is there a fee to scan and copy documents?
  • How many free computer labs are loated on campus?

Health Center

First Aid

  • Does the institution offer health insurance for students?
  • Can I use my parent’s insurance at the school’s health center?
  • What types of physicians are available at the health center?
  • Does the health center offer walk-in hours and appointments?
  • What is the co-pay to use the health center?
  • Is there pharmacy on-campus?

Major Department/Program


  • Which courses are required to complete my major?
  • Are all major courses offered every semester? If not, is there a copy of the course rotation?
  • Can I sit in a required class during my visit?
  • Does this department/program offer free tutorial assistance?
  • Are there free printing services available for students?
  • Are courses taught by professors or graduate students?
  • How can I apply for scholarships and grants within my major?
  • How do I learn about internship opportunities related to my major?

Financial Aid Office & Bursar

Financial Aid

  • Can I meet with an advisor to seek institutional scholarships and grants?
  • What are the dates for disbursement payments from my financial aid?
  • How do I find out if I am eligible for work study?
  • Can I get financial aid to fund summer semesters?
  • What are the fees associated with attending this institution?
  • Is there a payment plan option to pay my bill?
  • What are the semester deadlines to pay my bill?
  • Are there late fees if I do not pay my bill by the due date?

Visiting the aforementioned recommended offices and departments can help you learn more about the campus and gain a feel for your prospective college. Explore every nook and cranny of an institution and speak with students to learn their experiences. Also, while visiting colleges don’t forget to check out the areas surrounding the institution. Feel free to contact me if you have questions regarding college visits.

~Dr. O

Guaranteed Admission to Medical School


What will your major be in college? This is a common question that many students are asked during the college application process. Some students are unsure about their career path and go to college to gain different experiences that will lead them to a major. On the other hand, there are those students who have had internships in their prospective career and are certain about their professional goals.

For high school students who want to train toward becoming a medical doctor, there are combined BA/MD programs that guarantee students admission to medical school after undergraduate studies. Some of the perks of these programs include not having to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and skipping the lengthy medical school application process. Below are a few medical schools that offer combined BA/MD program.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham

The University of New Mexico

University of Pittsburgh

The University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

Georgetown College

University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine

University of Louisville

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

University of Colorado Denver

Feel free to contact me if you have questions!

~Dr. O

Beware of Financial Aid Scams


A few years ago a close family member contacted me for assistance with completing his Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We discussed the differences between loans and gift aid (e.g. grants). In the coming weeks, we exchanged text messages and he asked me, “Are you sure FAFSA is free? I have completed my form and in order to be eligible for financial aid it reads that I have to submit my credit card information.”

I immediately called him and asked what website he was on. I informed him that the FAFSA has always been free and if there is a fee it’s a scam. Over the years, I have also come across websites seeking individual’s social security number and payment information to apply for scholarships. The FAFSA is free, hence the first word, “FREE” Application for Federal Student Aid, and organizations that award legitimate scholarships will not ask you to pay to apply.

Please read scholarship applications closely to avoid scams. Also, the only place online to submit your FAFSA is through: https://fafsa.ed.gov/ .

Remember to submit your FAFSA as soon as possible for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions.

Happy New Year!

~Dr. O