Story by Ashlei Smith, Class of 2020

Every year thousands of students get accepted to their dream colleges. BRYC College Fellow Markayla Collins did not just get into her dream college; she is getting paid to attend Centenary College of Louisiana.

College Fellow Markayla Collins participating in “Centenary in Paris”

After being accepted to Centenary and realizing she would owe the school $8,000 per year, Markayla sat down with BRYC’s Executive Director Lucas Spielfogel to devise a plan to increase her ACT score. Markayla committed to BRYC’s signature self-regulated learning cycle, PMAB, standing for Plan, Monitor, Assess, Break. This method trains Fellows to use metacognition to engage deep, lasting learning. By faithfully utilizing PMAB during her ACT prep sessions, Markayla increased her composite score by six points from the March 2018 to the April 2018 tests, leading to a $40,000 increase in gift aid (scholarships) from Centenary. Rather than accumulating debt, Markayla is now going to college and getting paid. When asked about her incredible ACT improvement, Markayla advised, “Take the ACT seriously; do not wait until your senior year to get serious. Read, read, read! Most importantly, read to understand.”

The decision to study at Centenary was an easy choice for Markayla. “I chose Centenary because of the class sizes, location, and religious affiliation, which is Methodist,” Markayla said. At Centenary, Markayla is majoring in psychology and minoring in legal studies. “After college I plan on returning home to attend Southern’s law school. I want to practice family law,” she explained.

One perk of attending her dream college was the opportunity to experience “Centenary in Paris,” a trip open to all Centenary freshmen. While bonding with her new classmates, Markayla visited landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, and more. The trip was full of excitement. Markayla even got to ride in an EMS truck to a Parisian hospital when she had a minor health scare; don’t worry, everything checked out! Other than enjoying the delicious crepes, Markayla appreciated getting to experience a new culture. “The trip to Paris taught me to expect the unexpected,” she said. “It also taught me to be open to new cultures and food. America and France are so different in many ways!”

Markayla’s trip to Paris helped her realize that the hard work she invested to get to her dream college was worth it. Markayla encouraged other BRYC Fellows by saying, “Stay on your grind. Don’t just reach for the stars; go beyond that.”