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Seth Jackson is a leader on and off the court
“I think Seth is one of the most self-motivated, ‘cup-half-full’ students that I work with,” said Soren Dews, Seth Jackson’s VSAC counselor. “Even if it's an obstacle, he looks at it as ‘how can I get through this? How can I get motivated?’ I think that is so impressive.”
The Burlington High School senior is getting ready to decide where to attend college in the fall. His goals are to study business and to continue playing basketball.
Seth wouldn't admit it, but he’s a basketball star. As captain of Burlington High School’s basketball team, Seth serves as a leader and a source of motivation for his team and, ultimately, for the whole school.
“I need to keep moving up in order for my teammates to come up,” Seth says. “It’s the small things that count. You bring everyone up with you if you're putting in that time. That’s why it matters so much to me.”
Off the court, Seth has been incredibly busy working with Soren to make sure he’s getting all of the paperwork submitted for the 15-plus schools he has applied to. With several acceptance letters already in hand, Seth is feeling deservedly optimistic – although the financial logistics have been daunting.
“Money is a big stress, for sure. Whatever school gives me the most money is where I want to go,” Seth says, explaining that he doesn’t just want to choose a school because it seems like it would be a fun place to spend four years. “I want to make something out of it. If I just go for fun and stay unmotivated, it's going to be a waste of money.”
Though Seth has clearly brought a great amount of personal motivation and focus to his own college search, he also credits VSAC’s Talent Search program with helping him navigate the maze of financial aid forms and scholarship applications. “I am way more organized because of VSAC,” Seth says.
The Talent Search program has also been helpful in the way of college visits, particularly since COVID-19 put a wrench in Seth’s plans to visit schools. Fortunately, Seth was able to visit CCV on a Talent Search-sponsored trip that happened before the start of the pandemic. This gave him the chance to get a little taste of college life.
“Seeing all the teachers, meeting students, and seeing different parts of the college was great. It was also helpful to get a firsthand understanding of where you can go when you need help,” Seth said.
Since the start of the pandemic, Seth has relied on Soren's assistance in setting up virtual college tours, which have been almost as good as the real thing, Seth says. “We can click around where you want to go in the school.”
One of the experiences that led to his interest in studying business was a VSAC-supported scholarship to the Governors Institute of Vermont, a summer enrichment program that offers high school students opportunities for hands-on learning experiences in a college setting. The program Seth participated in was focused on entrepreneurship. In the weeklong seminar, students are coached on how to turn a creative spark into a viable and profitable business plan and have the chance to network with successful Vermont businesspeople.
“Before that summer, I didn’t know what I wanted to study,” Seth recalls. The experience convinced him that the business world was his calling — one of many ways that the VSAC Talent Search program has been instrumental in his high school career.
Overall, Seth says, VSAC has been a helpful guide for him along the way. Without their support, he can’t say with 100% certainty that college would be an option for him today. He definitely credits their assistance with helping him to apply to as many schools as he did. “I feel like I would be much more stressed if I didn't have VSAC,” Seth notes. “They help with all the details of college. From making a plan you can stick with to getting feedback on your financial situation. I really encourage everyone to be a part of the program. It's been huge for me.”
About Talent Search
VSAC’s Talent Search program serves high-potential Vermont middle and high school students who are interested in pursuing education beyond high school.
Talent Search provides career and college planning services to students at 40 Vermont schools who meet income guidelines and have an interest in pursuing education or training beyond high school.
Talent Search offers students:
- Counseling support for career and college planning
- Financial aid assistance and academic support
- Advising on high school courses
- Parent events
- College visits
- Summer enrichment programs
Talent Search is a U.S. Department of Education federally funded TRIO program. More than 363,300 students are enrolled in 466 Talent Search Trio programs across the US.
If you are a student—or the parent of a student—interested in this program, talk to your school counselor. We also offer a wealth of information and guidance for students and parents right on vsac.org.