Inside a chatter-filled gymnasium at the Bellamy Center, Brittany Andrew and Courtney Mixon walked around observing the abundance of college choices.
The Lakewood High School seniors were just two of many students who attended a fair for the Carolinas Association of Collegiate Registrars & Admissions Officers (CACRAO) was held at the Bellamy Center in Royal Lane Park. For Mixon and Andrew, it was her second year attending the event. Attending the event allowed them to keep their options open.
“Today, we’re just going around to see what other colleges offer the same choices or classes that I like,” Mixon said.
The best friends have plans to attend the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Courtney plans to study athletic training and physical therapy. Andrew said she’s going into premedical and human biology to become pediatric oncologist.
“It let’s the students know that there’s schools out here for them,” Andrew said. “Some kids don’t know they’re going to college until they come here. They get so see different things.”
Sampson Community College (SCC) served as a host school and invited juniors and seniors from the Clinton City and Sampson County districts. During the event, students were able to speak with admission counselors. This year, close to 50 institutions of high learning participated in the event.
“There’s colleges all across the state and their eyes are open to different opportunities that they wouldn’t have considered before,” said Blair Hairr, director of admissions for SCC.
Hairr believes it’ll help keep them focus about making future decisions during their final years of high school.
Rosemary Simpson, a college adviser with Sampson County Schools and Lakewood High School, said it’s a great time for them to begin making personal contacts with college officials.
“For seniors, it allows them to reconfirm some possibilities, but it allows them some chances that they never thought about,” Simpson said. “I think we had a really good turnout.”
Andrew Johnson, admissions counselor for the University of North Carolina-Asheville said it gives students a chance to learn about alternatives such as two- and four-year colleges. In many cases, some students wait to their senior year before they begin the search process.
“It’s good that they allow juniors in here because the process is starting sooner and sooner,” Johnson said. “By the time they’re seniors next year, they know where to apply.”
Rianna Wontrop, admissions operations manager for Belmont College, has the same feelings when it comes to juniors attending college fairs.
“There’s a lot of people going through and they have the opportunity to get exposed to different kind of locations,” Wontrop said. “I think it’s really good especially for students who don’t know what they want to do.”
Asherae Smith and Jamaar Wallace, juniors at Clinton High School had the opportunity to learn more about the colleges he would like to attend. After graduation, Wallace would like to become a high school teachers. Smith is planning to enter the medical field.
“I got some really useful information,” Smith said.
Dr. Stuart Blount, superintendent of Clinton City Schools, said the event was a great opportunity for local students to have a one-stop location to meet with representatives from all over the state. He also applauded the collaborative efforts of all the organizations involved.
“It shows the great partnerships that we have in our community and hopefully our students will recognize this benefit and see what doors open for them,” Blount said.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.