By Dominique Becnel (Class of 2012)
On Monday, Sept. 26, the National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC) hosted the national college fair at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Private and public universities from across the nation, as well as three international schools, offered scholarship and admission information to the 7,700 high school students who attended the fair throughout the day.
Throughout the night, workshops were offered, clarifying subjects such as receiving financial aid, applying for scholarship programs, differentiating between selective and non-selective schools, planning for college, and choosing a major.
On the whole, the Mount Carmel Academy students in attendance gave the event high marks. Even though Junior Allison Caldwell won’t make her college decision until next year, she was glad she attended. “The college fair provided me with a lot of useful information,’ she said. “I found out what some schools have to offer and what others don’t.”
Senior Carly Johnson was also pleased with her decision to attend. “It was helpful to be able to talk to the college representatives one-on-one and have them answer my specific questions about each university,” said Johnson
This year, the entire process was simplified by the utilization of a new barcode scanning system. Before the fair, students simply logged onto the NACAC website, registered for the fair, input their personal information, and printed out a barcode. They could also take advantage of a video that provided a complete fair overview and information about the different types of schools that would be present. At the fair, college representatives scanned students’ barcodes to retrieve their information.
“The barcode process made my search easier because I didn’t have to wait in a long line or fill out information cards for colleges to send me more junk mail,” said Senior Emily Koehler.
The barcode process worked well for college representatives as well, allowing them more opportunities to interact face-to-face with prospective students, according to NACAC member and Mount Carmel Academy college counselor Betsy Stangel.
The organization looks forward to the return of the national college fair next year. And if Senior Kelly Quern has her way, there will be a large contingent of MCA students there. She’s recommending it to all of her underclassmen friends. “They can learn more about a variety of colleges and get information about scholarships so that they can plan for the future,” said Quern.
Students who missed the college fair aren’t out of luck, according to Stangel. She has several college reps booked for on-campus visits during the fall from the University of Alabama, Rhodes College, and the University of Chicago, just to name a few. Students may register in advance on Naviance to confirm their attendance at these sessions.