Juniors attend NACAC college fair

Photo courtesy of Jane Dunn
A student speaks with a representative from Frostburg State University. Long lines and large crowds plagued students attempting to learn about bigger and more popular schools such as UMD and Penn State.

Shortly after 10 a.m. on April 18, buses departed the school carrying members of the junior class to a National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) College Fair at the Maryland Soccerplex in Germantown. At the fair, students could meet with representatives from hundreds of colleges and universities. The fair was optional, but many juniors chose to attend.

Held inside the Adventist HealthCare Fieldhouse, high schoolers from around Montgomery County moved freely between booths set up by college representatives, lined with pamphlets and information about their respective institution.

Although there was no shortage of information available, many students felt the fair was not as helpful as it could have been.

“It was helpful to find out about the types of universities there are, but it was all stuff you can find easily online,” junior Karthik Shankar said. “Nothing special.”

For other students, the fair proved beneficial to their college search, an annual pressure of junior year for highschoolers.

“I thought it was alright because I got to learn about some schools I might be interested in,” junior Kabir Singh said.

Students collected information from schools they found promising and each attendee carried a barcode with their own contact information. Once scanned at a booth, these barcodes allowed representatives to contact prospective students with more information or opportunities.

However, large crowds and long lines made it difficult for attendees to get the most out of the experience.

“I didn’t get to talk to some of the schools I wanted to and some people weren’t able to scan their barcode at some booths because of how crowded it was,” junior Julia Fiening said.

The field trip, while optional, was encouraged by members of counseling and administration. Students returned to class shortly after buses arrived back at school around 1 p.m. Attendees brought their own lunch to the fair and were required to pay a five dollar fee to cover busing costs.

NACAC organizes and runs similar college fairs across the nation, both in-person and virtually.