Sam Pardue hits the road to share college admissions tips with prospective students statewide

“Over the last 20 years, our applicant rate has doubled, and NC State now receives more than 20,000 applications every year.”

So said Dr. Sam Pardue, CALS associate dean and director of academic programs, to a crowded room of Johnston County high-schoolers and their parents. This statistic is one of many that Pardue has shared with prospective college students at seminars on university admissions strategies he delivered in rural counties this spring.

“Much of our research shows that it’s more important than ever to be prepared for the college admissions process and to start early,” Pardue said. “We’re offering these regional events to give prospective students and their families opportunities to hear straight from the source and ask pressing questions. We’re especially interested in reaching students from rural communities, who might not otherwise have an opportunity to travel to Raleigh to learn firsthand about CALS and NC State.”

During the events, Pardue breaks down all sorts of data that show everything from application trends to student demographics (the majority of CALS students are female and come from urban counties).

Pardue also shares information about CALS programs like STEAM and ASPIRE that aim to improve access to students from rural counties by creating alternative pathways into the college.

All of Pardue’s sessions – in Kinston, Smithfield, Statesville and Mills River – have been well-attended, and many of the participants stuck around long after the presentation for face time with Pardue. The events, sponsored by the CALS Alumni and Friends Society, are geared toward students in the 7th to 12th grades, as well as the parents, grandparents and family friends who accompany the students. Each event includes a reception, presentation and Q&A session (that lasts until the very last question is answered).

The final spring event is slated for April 30 in Hamlet. For more information about CALS admissions, visit: To register for the Hamlet event, visit

– S. Stanard