Students Explore Options at College Fairs
by Caleb Rhodes on Friday, October 3rd, 2014
Milton Academy has hosted two college fairs this Fall, the first on September 18th with 43 colleges attending and the second occurring on October 2nd with 60. Both fairs were hosted in the Robert Saltonstall Gym starting at 6:15 p.m.
Notable colleges in attendance include: Boston College, Trinity, Vanderbilt, Bowdoin, Columbia, Harvard, Vassar, and Notre Dame. At the fairs, these colleges set up booths where their admissions officers talk about their respective colleges and answer questions.
Shirley Lu (I) “went to the college fair to obtain more information about the colleges that I’m not familiar with, and also to say ‘hi’ to the admission officers from colleges that I plan on applying to.” According to Mr. Skinner, Director of the College Office, the college fair can help seniors “crystallize their lists, especially for those applying early.” For juniors, the fair is more about “scouting out options and seeing what colleges are like; it was a good opportunity to see who [college admission officers] really are,” says Carter Wilcox (II).
From the school’s perspective, the fair serves two purposes: aiding students and fostering relationships. Though Milton allows senior students two days off from classes and activities to visit colleges, the college fairs aim to help students more fully understand their options, to provide students with the opportunity to experience many institutions, and to build relationships with colleges more conveniently.
Prior to the fairs, Milton hosts a dinner for all the college officers. This courtesy helps build friendships, and the fair itself provides free advertising for the colleges. Mr. Skinner says that these relationships “help students currently and down the road.”
The process of putting together a college fair is fairly simple, according to Ms. Dunnington. “Every spring I send out an invitation to schools that have come in the past. They reply by mid-summer. Schools also call up and ask to have a spot at the fair.” Rather than encouraging students to skip classes to visit colleges, Milton places emphasis on bringing schools onto campus. With a limited amount of space, deciding what colleges should attend is an important and arduous task, according to Ms. Dunnington, because the school wants to give students as many appropriate options as possible.
The college fair is “Milton’s way of making sure students have a chance to meet as many college admissions officers as they possibly can, and to make [that process] as easy as possible,” says Mr. Skinner. The fair is an opportunity for both colleges to entice talented students into applying and for students to understand their options in a greater depth.
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