For many high school students, their post-graduation future will be determined by asking questions and exploring options. That environment was fostered Wednesday afternoon during McPherson High School's annual Career and College Day.
About 60 representatives from Kansas colleges, armed forces and vocational schools set up information booths at the Roundhouse for sophomores, juniors, seniors and their parents. This included local institutions Bethany College, Central Christian College, Hutchinson Community College and McPherson College, each with unique traits to offer students.
“A lot of people think that since we're a small college, we don't have a lot to offer,” Sabrina Scroggin, admissions representative for Bethany College, said. “When in reality, we have 43 majors and over 45 organizations and clubs. I always look forward to telling students all about the opportunities we have at Bethany.”
Central Christian College focuses on recruiting students who are interested in getting an education in a small, Christian environment.
“Our approach is to reach them where they're at, and get them on campus to see who we are so they can make the decision of whether or not we're the right fit for them,” Stephanie Clark, admissions counselor, said.
Hutchinson Community College has seen a spike in enrollment since Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's career and technical education initiative, and is ready for students who are looking for hands-on experiences and quicker degrees.
Representatives at the McPherson College table said their institution allows for unique internships at a price comparable to state schools, which some families are unaware of.
Students from area schools had two hours to browse the fair and its educational opportunities.
McPherson High School junior Sierra Bruner said it allowed her to explore her options for a business degree, as she is hoping to open her own bakery in the future. Smoky Valley junior Skylar Mills explored his options for a music education degree. McPherson High School junior Meranda Thompson visited booths for cosmetology school and was particularly looking for financial aid offers.
“I think it helps students get information on the colleges and look more into what they're wanting to do,” Candace Nightingale, an attending parent said. “It opens their minds to looking at other colleges.”
The event is organized by the Kansas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers and has been occurring annually for at least 20 years. This year, however, the event was moved from the evening to the afternoon and placed earlier on the calendar.
Over time, MHS counselor Kent Nye has seen an increase in younger students exploring their post-graduation options.
“It used to be more directed at juniors and seniors, but we're finding even sophomores could benefit from this,” he said. “We're finding college is such a big expense that students are preparing themselves earlier, and we're helping to prepare them for that.”
Page 2 of 2 - Nye said this is true especially as USD 418 continues to foster college, career and citizenship readiness with their C3 initiative.