Students search for perfect college at NACAC fair

Said to be the roughest year of high school, junior year is marked by a time of standardized tests, a struggle for good grades, and preparations for college. For the past years, The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) hosted the annual college fair at the Montgomery County Agricultural Center and Fairgrounds. This year it was on Apr. 10 from 9:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m..

The goal of the NACAC is for students to discover different college types, talk to college representatives and get their questions about the complex college process answered.

Arriving in a loud chattering bus, aisles of college booths await in a small building. College representatives stand proudly behind their booths. Students are unsure about which booths to visit first, lingering outside and trying to use their fairground maps to figure out their way around.

The College Fair was helpful for students who were curious about different programs colleges had to offer that were unfamiliar to them. Junior Mina Senthil visited two schools: Vanderbilt and Air Force ROTC at University of Maryland College Park (UMCP). “The college fair was okay. It was kind of helpful because I want to join ROTC in college and I got more information on that,” Senthil said.
They did not have colleges that were more rigorous or top-level colleges. Most colleges were unheard of to the majority of students with the exception of Vanderbilt University and a few large state schools. There was not an Ivy League school in attendance. Junior Esha Mittal did not feel like the results were as good as she expected. “There was two schools that I was interested in, but other than that, most schools were unheard of,” Mittal said.

To save students’ time, everyone had their own barcode for college representatives to scan so they could get more information about their college. Also due to the lack of variety of schools, the 90-minutes time limit given to students was more than enough. Students finished in around 30 minutes, giving plenty of time to revisit schools and walk around the fairgrounds.
Beyond having few popular schools in attendance, students still found this junior College Fair to be helpful in getting exposure to more colleges. Junior Matthew Simanin enjoyed the college fair. “I did not know there were so many different types of colleges and campus styles,” Simanin said.

Even if students did not see many colleges they were interested in, there were a lot of free goodies and pens at each booth. “I got a total of 25 cool pens,” junior Rita Zhang said.

Coming into the College Fair with an open mind was the best way to get the most benefits. The best way to get the most knowledge out of the 90 minutes was to go to booths and have meaningful conversations with the college’s representatives. The College Fair achieved its primary purpose of giving high school students exposure to different college sizes and types. Students learned about co-op programs, other programs and community college options. Students also got to talk to college representatives, guiding high school students in the right direction in their college search process.

Hannah Ho

Back Page Editor

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