Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

September 29, 2012

College fair helps students choose education’s next step

Mike James
The Independent

CANNONSBURG — The clock is ticking for high school seniors to choose a college, and the annual Ashland Regional College Fair on Friday was a good chance for them to narrow the field.

About 40 colleges sent admissions counselors to the Kyova Mall to pitch their schools to seniors from all six public districts in Boyd and Greenup counties.

“This is the time of year most seniors are investigating the colleges they want to attend,” said Marcia Salisbury, a counselor at Boyd County High School. With colleges, universities and technical schools from Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia represented, students were likely to discover schools they had not considered or even knew existed, she said.

Seeing all the colleges brought a sense of reality to the onset of the paper chase, according to Faith Hunt of Boyd County High. “It hasn’t sunk in until now that I’m going to have to make a decision. It just seemed like another school year until now,” she said.

Both large and small schools attend the annual fair and call it an invaluable tool in attracting potential students. “These are our students and we want to make ourselves available at every opportunity to see them,” said Gabe Schadle, gesturing out at the long line of seniors at his Morehead State University booth. He said the line had been that long or longer all morning.

Although it is in the regional back yard, Morehead still takes every chance to tell students about its academic programs, activities and scholarships, he said.

The much smaller Union College, with about 900 enrolled, made its first appearance at the fair and admissions counselor Jordan Noble said it was critical in spreading the word beyond its Knox County home territory.

“We’re in a small town and have limited exposure. We want to increase our statewide presence,” he said. Noble likes to tell prospective students a small school can make a big impact and for those in Northeast Kentucky it is far enough away to get away from the parents and spread young-adult wings without being too far.

With 40 schools set up side by side, the fair is an opportunity to narrow down the field, said Boyd County freshman Aaron Stanley. Academic information at his fingertips helps him find the schools that will offer courses he needs to get into law school. “It helps me find out which schools I want to go to,” he said.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.