By TYLER ELLYSON
KEARNEY – Mitch Beeson and Kennady Schmidt have a lot in common.
They’re both standout students with a long list of academic and extracurricular achievements.
He’s been involved in football, basketball, track, band, FBLA, FCCLA, National Honor Society, student council, speech and other activities. She’s an award-winning artist who’s participated in softball, track, speech, theater, FFA, FCCLA, Quiz Bowl and more.
They also happen to be future Lopers who attend high school just 8 miles apart.
Beeson and Schmidt made the 2 1/2-hour trip to the University of Nebraska at Kearney together Tuesday to take part in the second annual Admitted Student Day.
Organized by UNK Admissions, the event gives high school seniors planning to attend UNK an opportunity to learn more about academic programs, support services, campus housing, financial aid, student organizations and other aspects of college life. They get to meet faculty, staff and current UNK students while gaining an extra level of confidence before classes begin in the fall.
“A lot of times students will schedule a campus visit as a junior. When they come for that tour, we lead them around. This is a different experience,” UNK Admissions Director Jodi Holt said. “Admitted Student Day allows students to focus on the areas that are most important to them and further acclimate themselves to campus so they’re more comfortable when the next semester starts.”
Beeson, a senior at Clarkson Public Schools, is already quite familiar with UNK and the Kearney community.
“I really love the town,” he said. “I’ve been here a few times for state speech, and I’ve really loved it every time I’ve been down.”
Those experiences had him hooked, then the Kearney Health Opportunities Program (KHOP) reeled him in.
A partnership between UNK and the University of Nebraska Medical Center, KHOP is a pipeline program designed to grow the state’s health care workforce. It’s open to students from rural Nebraska who are committed to practicing in rural areas after receiving their professional training. Participants receive a full-tuition scholarship to attend UNK and guaranteed admission to UNMC if all requirements are met. They’re also part of a freshman learning community that provides additional support and professional development opportunities.
Beeson will study pre-nursing through KHOP and Schmidt was accepted into the pre-medicine program.
“That’s what I’m really excited about,” said Schmidt, a senior at Howells-Dodge. “It will be nice to know I’m on the path to becoming a doctor.”
Like Beeson, the Kearney community and KHOP played a big part in her decision to attend UNK.
“I had the choice between here and Wayne, but I liked it here a lot better,” she said. “It’s a way bigger community and it felt more like home when I came for my visit.”
Both students want to be active on campus, through intramural sports and other activities, and they’re eager to meet new people and begin the next chapters in their lives.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking, but I’m excited to be here,” Schmidt said.
“There’s a little anxiety, but it’s also fun looking forward to the future,” Beeson added.
UNK’s Admitted Student Day is offered each spring, when high school seniors start focusing on the transition to college. Approximately 150 students attended Tuesday’s event, nearly double the total from the first year.