Nearly 2,000 high school students visited the FMU campus to attend the Pee Dee Area Consolidated College Fair on Tuesday, Sept. 25.
The fair was held in the University Center (UC) Commons and Gym. Students from the Camden, Chesterfield and Florence areas were given the opportunity to speak with representatives from 57 colleges and universities.
The College Fair introduced high school students to Coastal Carolina University, College of Charleston, Pfeiffer University, Rutgers University and many more educational institutions.
Kayla Kimbrel, a junior at Mayo High School for Science, Math and Technology, believed the fair was beneficial in aiding to secure her college choice and exposing her to smaller colleges.
“[The fair] was very informative,” Kimbrel said. “There was a lot of colleges that I wanted to learn more about, like the major ones, and then there were some smaller that I didn’t really know anything about, but I do now.”
College representatives expressed their expectations of prospective students and what students can take from this experience.
Steven Cote, a transfer counselor from Western Carolina University was on the lookout for engaging, well-prepared students.
“The thing that we are looking for the most is to have a conversation,” Cote said. “Any information that [students] get from our table, they can also get from our website, so this is the unique opportunity that [students] have to seek out conversation from us.”
North Greenville University Representative Justin Pitts praised the planning and programming that went into preparation of the fair, but wishes to reach out to the home-school community, which he said is tough to do.
“With any consolidated fair, like this, home-schooled students are hard to reach because they’re usually in their home, not in any one place, typically,” Pitts said. “I’m on a committee for a consolidated college fair in Greenville, and [the home-school community] is a hard barrier to break into.”
Pitts said he met with one or two home-schoolers of the 2,000 that attended and wants to explore more effective ways to reach them.
Other college representatives commented on the students’ behavior and conduct, as a whole. Converse College Representative Ashley Moreira said she was impressed.
“Some students were dressed more professionally, which I really appreciate,” Moreira said. “I think it shows maturity and it really helped them be assertive as they were asking questions. There were even a few students who took the initiative to shake my hand, which is very impressive.”
Cote said the students were more prepared at this college fair than other college fairs this year. The readiness is refreshing and results in reason to continue the College Fair experience at FMU.
“[By] having that level of expectation, that’s going to make for an even more successful program, not only for the college representatives but for the high school students,” Cote said. “It will give us an opportunity to have a reason to come together every year.”