Another successful College Fair at Frederick Douglass

• April 21, 2013

For RCSD seniors, Exit Interview Day is a rite of passage. Typically, well-dressed business people visit schools en masse to conduct mock job interviews. Nervous students, sometimes jittery in their own best outfits, must demonstrate preparedness and maturity in front of prospective employers. It can be both an anxious and invaluable experience.   

As more students consider higher education, Northeast Prep and Northwest Prep at Douglass have added another level to the exit interview. In 11th grade, all students rehearse the steps necessary for an effective college application, including reviewing their portfolio, creating a resume, writing a personal statement and essay, and finally—at College Fair Day—participating in formal trial interviews with representatives from local colleges and universities. Ultimately, this unique opportunity—even if stressful like the practice job interview—affords students an in-depth understanding of what colleges both expect and can offer.

On Friday, this year’s fair, much like previous ones, was a blur of activity. Representatives from twenty-two schools crowded the library and cafeteria: SUNY UB, Roberts Wesleyan, Buffalo State, Alfred University, Daemon College, Everest Institute, Nazareth College, Keuka College, D’Youville University, College of St. Rose, Richmond University, SUNY Fredonia, MCC, GCC, University of Rochester, St John Fisher College, Canisius College, Niagara University, SUNY Brockport, Wells College, Mansfield College, and SUNY Potsdam. This impressive list—one that has grown larger every year—proves that colleges believe encouraging and guiding city students is well worth the effort. 

As the day began, almost all students were dressed like teenage business people in their Sunday best—a few proudly displaying their school uniforms. According to librarian Carl Gouveia, the buzz around the room was about their nervousness and fear. Many were anxiously and eagerly asking each other which college they would be interviewing with or going over questions to ask the college representatives awaiting them. But once everyone settled down, the experience was almost wholly positive.

Josh learned that St. John Fisher offered a five year engineering degree. Keuka, Damon and Medaille have the pre-med program and sports that interest Mhaniiyea. Shaief likes that GCC has a good computer science program, nursing courses and also academic support. Alfred State has a lot of what William is looking for, career-wise. Joel had never heard of Fredonia but was intrigued by the programs it offers. The rep from Brockport told Joseli to give his name when applying. All came away with a renewed seriousness of purpose. After all, the representatives had gently reminded everyone that if attendance slackens or grades slip, they risk losing their dreams.

RCSD students, like all students today, face an increasingly competitive road to college. To succeed they need all the tools and resources they can get when navigating this arduous process. Programs like the College Fair—and all the preparation that went into it—give them the better chance they deserve.