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Freshmen weigh mission options

Freshmen attending Weber State University who are planning on serving religious missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are going to have to do more preparation than turn in their mission papers. Following the announcement by Thomas S. Monson, president and prophet of the LDS church, many male freshmen are reconsidering their education plans.

Worthy male members of the LDS church can now serve LDS missions at the age of 18, previously 19, and females can now serve at 19 instead of 21 years of age.

The WSU Admissions Department spoke about the changes and preparations the university is going to have to go through in order to deal with the new change. According to Scott Teichert, associate director of admissions, many WSU students who are leaving on missions could risk losing their scholarships and financial aid unless they take the necessary steps to secure the aid until they return.

“We really, really need students who are considering going on missions now to get in and talk to an academic adviser . . . a financial aid adviser, a scholarship adviser,” said Teichert concerning the mission age-limit modification. “They could put their scholarship in jeopardy, depending on what the parameters are of their scholarship.”

ACT test scores expire after two years. Unless pre-missionaries have completed concurrent enrollment classes to fulfill those credit requirements, many students returning from two-year LDS missions will have to take the AcerPlacer assessment test for math and English.

The change doesn’t affect everyone who is 18 and planning on serving a mission. Mitchell Sheanshang, an undecided freshman, said he was planning on putting in his paperwork for his mission once he turned 19 instead of immediately to correspond with the age-limit modification. He said the change won’t affect his decision to finish spring semester.

“I plan to put in my papers in February or March,” he said. “I can get my associate’s degree at the end of spring semester.”

Josh Beckstead, a freshman at WSU, said he has decided to forgo spring semester in order to serve his mission. He said this announcement is something that took him by surprise, and it was “a mind-blowing dumpage” that came at him all at once. He laughed as he said, “My siblings will no longer have homework help.”

As for the females who can now serve missions at age 19, the university is planning on taking similar steps of preparation that it previously made for males serving at 19. The admissions department said that high-school recruitment will still occur, but it is going to change how the university does tracking.

Heidee Miller, a 20-year-old junior and social work major, said she has decided that she won’t serve an LDS mission, even with the age-limit change. She said she believes the changes came from God and that there is a different plan for everyone.

“I hadn’t thought about it too much, because I don’t turn 21 until July, so I was kind of playing with the idea, I guess,” Miller said. “I’d be in the middle of my schooling when I turn 21, and it would almost be a hassle to go. I think that it is a great opportunity, but I think I am supposed to be here.”

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