EDUCATION MATTERS: Rockford area high school students attend college fair

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Rockford area high school students get a jump start exploring their options after graduation.
Representatives from dozens of colleges, universities , vocational and technical schools were on hand to talk to kids at a college fair.

High school students wander from booth to booth during the Spring College Fair at Rock Valley College. Kids got the chance to learn about various schools, their application process and financial aid opportunities.     

Admissions counselors from dozens of schools were on hand to answer all kinds of questions.

“Where are you guys? Where’s Waukesha? How do you  say Waukesha? How big is your school? What areas of study do you have? Things like that,” Tomek Miaskowski, admissions counselor at Carroll University, said.

College recruiters say it’s never too early for high schoolers to start exploring their options.

“I would probably suggest sophomore year is probably the most beneficial year to really start because your junior year you’re already applying for schools and then you’ll know what their SAT or ACT scores are looking for to get in and then your senior year you’ll just feel solid with your applications,” Kimberly Palsgrove, admissions counselor at George Williams College, said.

Students are strongly encouraged to visit as many schools as possible to find the best fit.

“Come see us. Maybe we’re too large for you. That’s great now you know you want to look at a small school. Maybe we’re not big enough maybe you need to be looking at a larger, maybe a Big ten school,” Aston Karner, admissions counselor at Illinois State University, said. “I think visiting is important to start to get an idea of what you’re looking for and that helps to narrow it down so by the time you’re a senior, you know where you’re applying.”

“Junior year spring break is a really popular time on campuses that students start to go, especially during the school year, because then you actually see the school in full life and see kind of that semester going,” Miaskowski said.

In addition to hosting the event, Rock Valley College also had representatives on hand to talk about the benefits of starting at RVC. Recruiters say it’s a good option, especially for students looking to improve their academic record.

“For students who do come to Rock Valley first, after their first year here, we don’t look at their high school information, so that can be a really nice fresh start for them and that’s something we like to talk about as well,” Karner said.

Schools students were interested in will now send them information including important deadlines.

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