My name is Sophie Vogel and I am the 10th grade Academic Advocate at Hilltop High School. I had the pleasure of taking seven students from my 10th grade cohort, plus two of their friends, to the National College Fair on April 23rd. We left Hilltop High School around 5:30 pm with a group of students from The H.I.L.L. on the bus they had chartered and agreed to share with us. The students all registered before they boarded the bus so we could relax while enjoying attractive views; sunlight reflecting off downtown skyscrapers, San Diego Convention Center by the Coronado Bay and peoplewatching.
Our students split up to look for colleges and universities of interest when we entered the college fair, using a scavenger hunt form to guide their questioning. Each registered participant printed a piece of paper with a barcode on it and were able to ask admissions counselors at different tables to scan their barcode to put them on the school's mailing list. Most of the 10th graders had never been to a College Fair before and may have found the experience slighly overwhelming, as I did. There were over 400 institutions at the College Fair, each with a table, promotional materials and expert college admissions counselfor to answer questions. In addition, students could attend workshops about the college application process.
I am proud of my students for cultivating independence and maturity by taking risks to talk about their academic interests with adults in positions of authority. There were groups of students wearing matching shirts, students whose parents brought them to the college fair to visit with the admissions counselor from their Alma Mater and focused upperclassmen getting business cards as part of a targeted approach to college applications. My students arrived with minimal preparation about college fairs and left with the confidence that their opinions matter and their voices were heard. After all, my students will be the consumers in this industry whose tuition fees determine the direction of the market. I look forward to seeing the improvements my students will be able to make from within their chosen institutions of higher education.