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A College Buffet

Painesville City Schools celebrated their 2nd Annual College Fair bringing together hundreds of Juniors and Seniors from Harvey to visit with 46 colleges and universities. College Fairs are not that common at high schools across the United States, and require additional effort on the part of our administrators and staff. It is because of the efforts of our exceptional guidance leadership at the high school by Ms. Sharon Fitzgerald and Ms. Marilyn Vihtelic that programs like these that provide innovative solutions for our students are able to occur. Without their countless hours of effort and determination to provide the best for our district, these events would not be possible.

College fairs allow students to perform in person research with a university or college admissions counselor. They are an opportunity for students to get feedback so they can determine if a college is going to be an appropriate fit for their interests. There are many different options for higher education and choosing a university to attend can be challenging. Students may think they have the best idea for the college they would like to attend, and then after attending a college fair determine that another option might be better. Having a diversity of community, public, and private colleges creates new opportunities to be on a prospective student’s radar.

College fairs also provide free advice for questions as it relates to college. This is a great opportunity for admissions counselors to answer questions that they might otherwise not have been able to ask. By having the opportunity to ask all of these questions, you can narrow your list of possible options so if a student does decide that they would like to visit a college; they have already eliminated all of the other choices that aren’t on the list of possibilities. This can save lots of money, especially if those colleges are not in the state of Ohio or if they are far away in the state.

These fairs are also a great opportunity for students to find out about visit days, summer programs, and other important dates at a university. Setting up a private tour at a college or university is almost unheard of in this day and age. The vast majority of students attend a more formal informational session featuring a larger group of prospective students. These events usually coincide with a particular time of year such as a Homecoming game. Knowing what are the best days for a student to “experience” a campus is a very important component of a student’s decision-making process. If a student is in a toss-up of determining whether or not to attend a visit, going on one of these more formal visits can help.

College fairs are also not just for colleges. This is also a great opportunity for students to interact with members of our armed forces. This allows our students to learn more about what it's like to serve in the military. Students can get a better understanding of what it's like to complete basic training, enlist, and ultimately serve the greatest country on earth. 

Finally, college fairs are an incredible opportunity for students to brush up on basic skills such as interviewing and filling out an application. Trying to determine the college or university you would like to attend is incredibly challenging in and of itself. Going through all of the necessary steps in that process can prove to be even more time consuming especially when students are trying to finish the school year. By having the opportunity to meet with these institutions to get all of the basic questions answered, it increases the likelihood of applying to multiple colleges and increasing the likelihood of acceptance.

There are literally hundreds of benefits that these fairs provide our students, and the fact that we are able to provide these opportunities to our students is truly a remarkable thing. Painesville City Schools has adopted a strategic plan to provide multiple career pathways to our students which will ultimately foster success. The college fair increases the variety of student learning options and opportunities for our students. We believe that it is through events like these that we can create life changing experiences that can change the trajectory of a student’s future.

Again, we cannot begin to thank the dedication of our Harvey leadership enough for all of the incredible work they do to foster student success. The devotion of our staff for our students at PCLS is truly exceptional. Thank you Ms. Sharon Fitzgerald and Ms. Marilyn Vihtelic for all that you do.