The students’ future fair

Transferring to a four-year institution can be pivotal moment in a students’ life. The College Fair Extraordinaire helps them prepare for their academic future, so they can ultimately pick the right university to further their education. 

The College Fair Extraordinaire had more than 60 in-state and out-of-state college and university booths with representatives introducing high school students and community college students the value of college, student life and academic requirements.

Attendees had opportunities to attend numerous workshops, some such as “Financial Aid,” “Making Your College Applications Stand Out” and “Tips on Making College Affordable.”

Not all college and university representatives were college officials. Many were continuing students. While some high school students and college students may not feel the need to attend a college fair, representatives have said the information helps attendees direct their futures and make well-informed decisions.

Jonathan Cottrill, a student representative from Pepperdine University, said students often think that representatives are just trying to sell a university to them.  

“Realistically, I don’t want any student, especially being a student myself, to come to a university and then be unhappy with it because it was advertised to them incorrectly,” Cotrill said.

He said the ability for students to use representatives as resources and to find where they fit and belong is the most important aspect. 

“This is setting you up for your future, especially within your different career fields and what you’re studying in college,” Cottrill said.

Attendees visited representatives from CSUs, UCs and other institutions across the country.

Sammy Wess, an attendee from Cleveland High School, said she benefited from partaking in the event. 

“I feel like I’ve gained some insight into things that I like in colleges versus ones that I want to stay away from,” Wess said. “And it’s kind of cool to see all of them together to comparatively assess which ones would be best for me.”

With about 60 high school student volunteers, each had various responsibilities.

Maryan Menalagha, a volunteer from Taft High School, said she came to the fair early and checked out the colleges and universities she was interested in.

“When my shift started, people have been asking me questions like where things are located and I really like helping them and giving them some information about colleges and where they can get more information,” Menalagha said.

When asked about the question she wished students would ask more often, Menalagha said she hoped for people to ask about FAFSA and financial aid because she has had experience completing it and understands the process.

When asked about what he would say to students who are interested in an out-of-state university like the University of Nevada, Reno, Elijah Robertson, a representative from the institution, gave his personal experience as someone who was born and raised in San Francisco, Calif.

“I’ve been in your position,” Robertson said. “We have no impacted majors. You’re able to graduate within four years and you’re able to have different opportunities, internship opportunities where you could be able to continue your career, your journey or what you want to do with your life.”

When asked about what advice he would give to incoming freshmen and transfer students, Cottrill emphasized research and seeing what school matches them best.

Cottrill said he recommends students to learn about class sizes, internships and different divisions. He also advises students to navigate websites and call the college or university because many times, the institutions have students answering the phones who can give their personal experiences.