Junior Class Attends First District-wide College Fair Held as Field Trip for Students


By Chloe Horstman, North Star staffer

On Sept. 18, the junior class took a detour from their typical school day, traveling to an event that was the first of its kind in the Francis Howell School District. Rather than walking to their third hour class,  juniors hastened to the large gym, where they lined up behind sheets of paper that determined which bus they would ride to FHC for a district wide college fair in which they would be able to gather more information from a multitude of post secondary education institutions.

After being dismissed bus by bus, students chatted with each other, full of nerves and excitement. Some students had a list of colleges they planned to talk with, others walked in the doors of FHC without having any specific colleges they were looking for. Some stuck with friends, and others flew solo, making their way from booth to booth. Some students engaged in lengthy conversations with representatives about offered programs and opportunities, while others picked up as many brochures they could carry from over 100 booths.

FHC had been doing a college fair for their own students for a while, and FHN had previously put programs on in the evenings, but the district decided to come together to boost attendance and impact more students who couldn’t attend after school fairs.

“Each school has always kind of done their own[college fair], and attendance wasn’t really great,” Associate Principal Katie Greer said. “We would have our college and career night up here and we would get a handful of families. But this way, our entire junior class had an opportunity to go.”

Prior to the fair, college and career counselor Brooke Prestidge visited the juniors during their classes to prepare them to talk to the representatives and equip them to get the most out of the fair that they can, and not feel as lost and overwhelmed. 

“The more you talk to colleges, the more you talk to representatives, you start getting other ideas,” Prestidge said. “It helps you to know what to ask the next time you go.”

Among the booths for universities both near and far, there were also trade schools, tech schools and military branches that lined the gyms for students planning on taking a post secondary education route different than college.

“I think sometimes students might think they don’t have any options, are not aware of what their options are,” Prestidge said. “Hopefully this kind of broadened that view for them.”

Among a group of friends strolling an aisle between booths, junior Raymond Sun branched off to talk to some institutions that offered courses geared towards technology and medical fields. Sun attended a college fair while in middle school to get a feel for the atmosphere, which prepared him for the FHC fair. 

“It excited me in a way,” Sun said. “I got to talk with colleges, and actually understood what they said to me, since I had training in fields for which I’m interested in such as computer programming, Cyber Security, and I’m thinking of doing medical later. So it was actually really interesting.”

While the college fair was a unique experience for each student, Greer hopes that every student gained more of an incentive to open their minds and explore potential future paths from the event. 

“Seeing yourself outside of high school I think is really huge,” Greer said. “It’s kind of the first step of ‘Hey, there’s life outside of this school, what do I want to do?’ So it really kind of sparks that thinking.”