At NRG Center on Tuesday, 3,000 juniors and seniors from YES Prep and KIPP Houston came together to learn about college options.
With 150 colleges and universities on hand for the 10th Annual College Fair, students met college representatives and walked away with a number of questions answered.
This is the first year that both organizations have teamed up for a joint college fair.
“I think it’s cool to have this opportunity because it’s rare,” KIPP Houston High School junior Kelby Saldivar said. “We rarely talk to colleges. They come to our schools, but the atmosphere is different.”
As students entered the fair, they anxiously approached representatives who were each set up at tables with brochures, information cards, and school spirit materials.
“At first,” KIPP Northeast junior Astrid Campos said, “I was nervous but then it got really exciting once I got to talk to people. I just went to the schools where I thought there might be an opportunity for me.”
Just as much as students are looking for the right match, colleges are looking for the right students for their campus cultures.
KIPPsters came prepared with a list of schools and questions. University of Alabama regional recruiter Elizabeth Thomason took notice and delivered praise.
“The biggest difference between other fairs and this one is that all the students I met today asked questions,” Elizabeth said. “Other schools, maybe they might say, ‘Oh just tell me about your school’ or they want to know about the football program. Here, everybody asked specific questions and was engaged in what I told them. That makes my job a lot more fun.”
For Astrid, campus environment will be one of several factors when making her final decision.
“I asked the reps how the culture was at their schools because that’s something I really wanted to know,” Astrid said. “They explained to me how it was and some other things that I really wouldn’t know about. I felt like I was part of the conversation, so it was really awesome.”
Any information recruiters share with students can help toward making finding the right college match easier.
“I feel like my job is to tell you about Alabama,” Elizabeth said. “If it’s the right school for you, that’s awesome and I’m happy to have you. But I want you to figure out if it’s the right school. I don’t want to make you come to Alabama if it’s not really what you want.”
Texas A&M recruiter Lilia Loera stated that the primary objective remains the same for her and all of her recruiting colleagues.
“Even as college advisors, even if they don’t come to A&M, we still try to also stray them to other universities too,” Lilia said. “So our mission here is for them to go to college. It’s not, ‘oh, just A&M or nothing.’ There are so many awesome universities here.”
University of Houston rep Daniel Arocha remarked that the students in attendance on Tuesday are the future of the country.
“The future of our country is here,” Daniel said. “To see the passion, and the love, and just the passion to learn more, it’s great.”
While the students themselves may not fully grasp the label, they do understand the importance of knowing what they want to do next, continuing their education, and bettering their futures.