Swarms of parents and students moved around the transformed CCHS cafeteria. Its tables, usually topped with lunch trays and water bottles, were adorned with various college pamphlets and brochures. On Tuesday, February 13, CCHS hosted its annual college fair.
“This event is important because students can talk firsthand with admissions officers, recruiters and technical school representatives,” guidance counselor Clara Neeck said. “Students can find out if they are on track for the colleges that they are really thinking about and what they need to do to prepare for those schools.”
CCHS students and parents had the opportunity Tuesday night to speak to such representatives from more than 70 colleges, universities and technical schools. Groups gathered around tables, such as those from University of Central Florida and Broward College, to learn more about what different schools had to offer. Popular topics of the night were student life, merit aid and choice of major. The college fair also had information sessions about college planning resources, standardized testing and Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
“As long as you do what you love, there are endless possibilities.”
“I [came to the college fair] because I wanted to see all of the opportunities I can get and the possible colleges I can go to,” freshman John Yearick said. “Being a freshman, I might be fairly young, but I still want to see what opportunities I can work toward and what goals I should set for the future.”
Planning ahead is a step that many college representatives recommend to prospective students. With dozens of universities in Florida alone, deciding on a post-secondary education plan can seem like an overwhelming task. But by considering their preferences early on, students can begin to narrow down their list of potential colleges.
“The reason why I would advise students to start looking at schools, preferably before junior year, is for them to analyze all of the options that they have,” University of South Florida Admissions Recruiter Karen Coradin said. “It’s better to start early so [students] can start writing down the options they have and looking at all of the schools into detail instead of just skimming through them.”
Though the benefits of a four-year college education are frequently stressed to high school students, career and technical schools can often go unnoticed.
But a traditional four-year university is not the only possibility for high school graduates. The college fair also had representatives from vocational schools like Sheridan Technical College and Aveda Institute. Vocational schools prepare students for their chosen career field, which may range from web development to cosmetology. Though the benefits of a four-year college education are frequently stressed to high school students, career and technical schools can often go unnoticed.
“It is so important [for students to consider other post-secondary education paths] because there are other career options out there,” Aveda Institute Student Care Manager Amanda Pelaez said. “Whether it’s at a technical institute or a trade school, there are different career opportunities. As long as you do what you love, there are endless possibilities.”
No matter which educational path high school students choose to follow beyond graduation, CCHS offers programs and resources to prepare for it. Students can visit the Broward Advisors for Continuing Education (BRACE) office or their guidance counselor for more information on post-secondary education opportunities.
Photo by Sarah Khan