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Tallmadge High School graduate Taylor Ridenour was the featured speaker for the Spotlight on Success Series March 3.
Ridenour, a Kent State University graduate, has almost completed a masters' degree in student affairs and higher education at Wright State University and is now working at Kent State University.
Ridenour began her presentation by telling students she was a first-generation college student, meaning she is the first in her family to attend college. She told students it was important to consider what type of education plan they choose, explaining available options, whether they be going to school for four years or continuing on in technical school or trade school. She advised students make a list of what is important to them. She then advised students to break down the list of non-negotiables.
Ridenour offered a college comparison worksheet to the students.
She told the students to think about location, size, environment, admission requirements, academics offered, college expenses, financial aid offered, housing, academic and recreational facilities and activities.
Above all, she advised students to visit the campus of the college of their choice.
After making her list, and considering the direction that she wanted to go, Ridenour said she chose to pursue a four-year degree. She then had to look at the two schools she was considering -- Miami of Ohio and Kent State University. Ridenour said one of her non-negotiables was scholarships and tuition costs. Although she wanted to go away and experience college at a distance from home, she knew attending KSU would be the wiser choice due to the amount that was offered to her for a scholarship.
Although she was shy in high school, Ridenour said she was still active and felt that helped in her success throughout college. She suggested students get involved early on in college. She suggested students research different activities and groups in which to be involved, including speaking to advisers and contacting Student Affairs on campus.
Ridenour joined Delta Zeta Sorority at KSU, noting the connections she made belonging to a sorority helped in her job search and her philanthropic involvement helped with making even more connections. She led a philanthropic event for Delta Zeta, raising over $70,000 for the charity.
After her first year at KSU, Ridenour said she changed her major from speech pathology and audiology to communications studies when she got a job with Student Affairs. She said she enjoyed helping first-year college students., advising them to be open to changes and be sure to branch out because the connections will help in the journey to success.
Ridenour's professional passions include helping students transition to college life and discover the career path that's right for them. In her personal life, she said she enjoys running, traveling, spending time on the water and selling LuLaRoe clothes on the side.