By Hazel Scott
Alabama State University’s Bus Tour 2023 is on the road again! The ASU campus team of faculty, staff, students and recruitment advisers is hitting three states, visiting 21 schools in 19 cities to invite students to Take a Closer Look at ASU and to award more $3 million in scholarships.
“The tour provides an opportunity to discover what ASU has to offer—stellar academics, research possibilities and exciting student life. It’s a way of bringing the University to those students who can’t make an in-person visit to campus,” said Dr. Freddie Williams, Jr., Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management/Director of Admissions and Recruitment.
The Bus Tour is occurring over two weeks, impacting high school students in Alabama (Montgomery, Autauga, Dallas, Bullock and Macon Counties), Georgia (Decatur and Atlanta) and Florida (Pensacola), a new tour state. The first leg kicked off this week, March 27-31, and the second leg is April 10-13 with an additional day on April 17.
Because of health and safety concerns, the tour will not include alumni receptions or the signing of historical MOU agreements with area community colleges.
What did return is the hallmark of the tour – scholarships. Students attending the tour have a chance to qualify for scholarships; some have been awarded on the spot. Some out-of-state students will receive the President’s Promise Scholarship, valued at $8,328 annually, with students receiving half in the fall and the other half in the spring semesters.
“It’s a game changer for a lot of students,” said Williams. “Tours encourage low-income and first-generation students to see themselves as freshmen at schools they might never have considered previously.”
First Leg of The Tour
ASU presented more than $2 million in scholarships (academic, band and music) to students at 12 schools during the first leg of the weeklong tour.
The schools visited were Towers High School in Decatur, Ga.; Carver Early College in Atlanta, Ga.; Autaugaville High School in Autaugaville, Ala.; Southside High School in Selma, Ala.; Pine Forest High School, Pensacola High School and Booker T. Washington High School, all in Pensacola, Fla.; Wetumpka High School in Wetumpka, Ala.; Stanhope Elmore High School in Millbrook, Ala.; Austin High School in Decatur, Ala.; Mae Jemison High School in Huntsville, Ala.; and John L. LeFlore High School in Mobile, Ala.
“We are excited about the scholarships. This is a great opportunity to help students pay for college,” Williams pointed out.
At each stop, Williams noted the ASU team saw crowded schools eager to engage and be a part of Hornet Nation, an excitement that benefits ASU enrollment.
“It’s a Great Time to Be a Hornet! We have been well received in the cities we have visited thus far,” Williams said. “Students who didn’t have the mindset to attend college changed their minds after talking with some of the professionals at the various ASU colleges. The fact that we are awarding scholarships and the fact that we just showed up are all going to factor into helping these students decide to come to Alabama State.”
Amazing! That’s how Williams described the visit to Autaugaville High School, where ASU alumnus Roderick James is principal. “We are the first college that visited their school. Students don’t see many opportunities there because people widely ignore them because they are so small and in a rural area. So, for us to go there and offer these opportunities is amazing.
"Williams noted that a busload of their students will be on the ASU campus on Friday, March 31. “We went to them on Monday, and they are coming to us on Friday to tour the campus. They also will do on-the-spot auditions.”
Recalling a heartwarming story out of Pensacola, Williams said a student who faced tragedy last year, “legs literally buckled when she found out she was receiving a scholarship and its amount. She was so grateful, so happy.”
Amazing moments continued in Mobile. “Dr. Ross lost his wallet and a young man, a scholarship recipient, found it and gave it back to him.”
Williams noted since President Quinton T. Ross, Jr.’s inauguration as ASU’s 15th president, Ross has been committed to building relationships with the University community.
“I’m so proud of Dr. Ross and the job that he is doing. His commitment and blessing to the tour deepen those connections and allow us to continue to spread the good news about ASU,” Williams said.
The next tour stops will be in Birmingham and Irondale on April 10, Dothan on April 11, Union Springs and Tuskegee on April 12, Montgomery on April 13, and Eutaw and Uniontown on April 17.
For day-by-day updates, follow the tour on ASU’s Facebook page (alabamastateuniversity).