from a public HS teacher (Gov't, Religion, Soc. Issues), who is eclectic (Dem-leaning) politically and Quaker (& open) on everything else. Hope you enjoy what you find here.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Thoughts on College Fairs 

Today I am not at school. Our district is having a College fair, held at our local community college, and my alma mater asked me to serve as its representative. We had a morning session, 9:30-12:30, for those who are juniors in our public high schools. We have a second session running 4-6 PM that is open to the general community. Since I ahve free acess to wi-fi here, I decided to post these random thoughts.

I have often represented old alma mater at college fairs, and I have very mixed feelings about their existance. There is often little chance for really communicating with the students who might truly be interested. Representing a highly selective instiution that is not as well known, I have no choice but to do a little screening. It is not that I mind giving away literature or the mini CDs we use to promote the college. It is that there are many students just grabbing all the literature and material they can, and I really would not want them wasting time, energy or other on a college that would be inappropriate for them to consider.

On the other hand, one can never know when this setting will provide for that chance encounter with the high school student who might never otherwise consider the college, and for whom we would be a good fit. Thus I try to chat a bit to see if there is any possibility. Is there something I can discern about that student standing in front of me that set off the instinct that I need to maintain contact, try to interest the student? Or is there something that makes it clear that this would not work. I have about 30-60 seconds to make that determination. If there is any possibility, then I have to "hook" them long enough to get contact information, and to provide them with the factoid that gets them to look further.

Although I graduated years ago, I have stayed in contact with and current on the College and what it now offers. I know it had a transforming effect on my life.

NO, I have not yet mentioned the institution in question, but there is no reason I should not. I attended Haverford College,the oldest (around since 1833) post-secondary institution founded by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). And if you are a high school student, or the parent of a child looking for a terrific small liberal arts college, take a visit at http://www.haverford.edu .... it will be well worth your while.

As for College Fairs -- they are hard, and somewhat exhausting -- but I continue to do them because it is one way I, on my teacher's salary, can give back to the institution that so shaped me, something of value.

And hey, any place that can in the same year (forthcoming) give honorary degrees to both Mollie Ivins and Dave Matthews can't be half bad.

Comments, suggestions and even rude remarks are welcomed!
Email accepted at "kber at earthlink dot net"
Preface email messages with "teacherken" so I know they are not spam.
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