College & Career Fairs
It is never too early for high school students to think about what they want to do after their graduation from high school. Today's society offers students a myriad of opportunities - college, military service, or immediate employment in the workforce. For those students who decide to pursue a college education, completing the admissions and financial aid application, or just trying to make housing decisions can be a daunting task. For those students entering the workforce after graduation, the mere research and interview process can be overwhelming.
In an effort to better assist students with some of these decisions, the Baldwin County Public School System sponsors an annual College and Career Fair in the fall for our high school seniors. Over 50 colleges, universities, businesses, and military branches attend the day-long event, which is held at Coastal Alabama Community College.
During the time for this College and Career Fair, students are given the opportunity to speak with recruiters about all aspects of the post-secondary education process, employment potential, and military service.
GETTING THE MOST FROM THE COLLEGE AND CAREER FAIR
Before the fairs, spend time determining what kind of school best suits YOU. This major process takes time and is complete when you finally say "Yes!" to your school of choice. Remember there is no solitary "right" college; there should be a number of "right" colleges. Your parents and school counselors offer many resources to help in your research.
Review the list of participating colleges and with the help of your parents and counselor, decide which schools to visit at the fair. Visit those first, then explore others.
Study the "Questions to Ask in College Decision Making" worksheet and prepare your own personal list of questions to ask college admissions representatives.
Bring with you to the fair prepared labels with your name and address. Often college reps will have mailing cards at their school's table for those desiring more information.
Familiarize yourself with the fair program and layout.
Obtain from college/university admissions representatives a personal business card or pertinent college application materials as needed.
After the fairs, if you are really interested in a school, write a thank you note, using the representative's name you contacted at the fair.
Follow-up also includes the all-important campus visits and talking with students and former students of the colleges. They know firsthand what the academic climate is like.
Finally, your goal is to find a college where you have the greatest chance of enjoying academic achievement in a satisfying living environment. A realistic assessment of your personal abilities and interests coupled with reliable information about your researched colleges will allow you to apply to colleges where you are most likely to be accepted and, more importantly, be successful!
QUESTIONS TO ASK IN COLLEGE DECISION MAKING
- Where can I get an application? What is the application fee and deadline?
- What do tuition, room, and board cost?
- How important are ninth, tenth and eleventh-year grades? Senior year grades?
- Is it better to get an A in a regular course or a B or C in an AP/IB course?
- What are your GPA and ACT statistics?
- Are achievement tests required?
- How can high school courses count for college credit?
- Are there any other requirements? Do I need to take any special high school courses?
- How much math/science and foreign languages should I take?
- What kind of recommendations do you look for? School, community, work?
- Do you have a summer transition program?
- Are interviews required? Are there group or individual interviews and tours?
- When is it best to visit the school? Can I stay overnight in the dorm and visit classes?
- Is there on-campus housing? Is on-campus housing coed?
- What percentage of students live on campus? How are roommates selected?
- What's the social atmosphere? Is it a suitcase/commuter school on weekends?
- What type of organizations and clubs are there?
- Is it easy for first-year students to get involved in activities and mix with upperclassmen?
- Can students have cars on campus? Do I need a car?
- What is the percentage of minority students? International students? Special needs students?
- What student services are offered?
- What sports do you participate in? Intercollegiate, club, and intramural?
- What are some of the other extracurricular activities?
- How good is the dorm security? What are the campus crime statistics?
- What percentage of students study abroad?
- How large is your school?
- How close is it to local life?
- How large is the city or town?
- Is on-campus parking available?
- What is the school culture?
- Is your college two or four years? What degrees do you offer?
- How large are the classes? How easy is it to get to know the faculty?
- How do you assign faculty advisors to students?
- Do I need a computer? Is there easy access to computer labs?
- What kind of academic support is available? Tutors, learning labs, writing centers?
- Are first-year courses large lectures? Do professors or graduate students teach sections?
- When must I choose a major?
- What types of internships or co-op experiences are available?
- What types of aid do you offer? Is aid academic (merit) or need-based?
- What percent of the students get aid?
- How do I find out about grants and scholarships offered by your school?
- Are there deadlines, and what are they for submitting FAFSA forms?
- What else do I need to submit to be considered for all kinds of financial aid?
- Do I need to file a FAFSA to get a campus job?
- What percentage of students work? How easy is it to obtain a job on campus?
See your school counselor for further help.