Campus prepares to hold college fair for students

Christopher McKagen, Staff Writer

The Office of Admissions will host a college fair on Tuesday, Oct. 4 in the University Center Gym that will feature nearly 60 colleges from South Carolina for local high school students.

Lisa Knell, FMU Admissions Counselor, said that the fair is an opportunity for students to speak directly with college representatives and a first chance for many students to see the FMU campus.

“It is actually a live person they can talk to and ask the questions that might be a little intimidating to ask over the phone,” Knell said. “If a student hasn’t set foot on campus yet, then at least they can say they have. I think, for most students, this is probably their first initial visit to FMU.”

The fair is sponsored by Carolinas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, an organization that is comprised of representatives from over 180 colleges and universities in South and North Carolina.

FMU Senior Admissions Counselor Steven Coté,  said that CACRAO works closely with other similar organizations to coordinate events on a large scale.

“There are state, regional and national organizations of registrars and admissions officers,” Coté said. “We educate within and outside of the organization.”

Colleges and universities paid CACRAO a fee of $40 per school to attend the fair. Coté said that the fees were used for transportation, advertising and a bag for each student that attends the fair.

“The money that they pay covers informational literature that was sent to the homes of students and a bag for the students to use at the fair for the information they pick up,” Coté said. “That money is also used to assist the school districts with the cost of bussing the students to and from Francis Marion.”

The Office of Admissions has had over 2,000 high school juniors and seniors attend the fair in previous years. Knell said that this year there will not be a night fair like in the past.

“We normally have a day fair and a night fair, but because attendance was down for the night fair, we are going to go with just the day fair this year,” Knell said.

The fair will run from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m on Oct. 4. Students from 30 high schools from areas including Florence County, Lee County, Marlboro County, and even private schools were invited.  Knell said that having so many schools and students at FMU at once is unique.

“It’s a little bit of organized chaos,” Knell said.

FMU Diplomats will assist in the operation of the fair. Senior accounting major and FMU Diplomant Jennifer Gaskins worked with the Office of Admissions at the college fair last year. Gaskins said she took some of the high school students on a tour of the FMU campus before leading them to the gym.

“First, I took a group of students on a tour of the campus because they asked,” Gaskins said. “Then I took them to the gym and told them to grab a lot of information and to set up visits with the colleges.”

The Office of Admissions is looking for students to volunteer to help at the college fair and can be reached at (843) 661-4692.