Regional fair helps students seek possible colleges, universities

Students and parents attend the Annual Four States Regional College Fair Oct. 4. Seventy-six colleges and universities were represented at the event.

Taylor Treadaway

Students and parents attend the Annual Four States Regional College Fair Oct. 4. Seventy-six colleges and universities were represented at the event.

Students and parents from all over the four-state area attended the Annual Four States Regional College Fair.

“I think college fairs are important for high school students because it gives them opportunities to see the different schools, locations and majors,” said Danielle Dunn, senior mass communications major, and the event’s planner. “It shows them more options all in one central location, instead of traveling from college to college.”

With 76 colleges and universities represented at the event, Derek Skaggs, director of enrollment services, finds progress in the occasion.

“It’s been successful for Missouri Southern, and it’s grown each year,” Skaggs said. “Last year we had more than 600 people that came, and we started at 250. So it’s gaining popularity and I think it’s been very successful.”

The event encompassed two breakout sessions providing information on what colleges and universities are looking for. Patty Cruise, a Joplin High School counselor, and Sue Utter, a Carl Junction counselor, are supportive of the accessible information this event holds.

“We urge our kids and parents to come so that they can get first-hand information from these representatives,” said Utter. “So they can learn admission standards and the financial aid process. It’s also for the parents because it’s been awhile since they’ve gone to college, and the costs have changed, and things are submitted online now.”

According to the counselors, the regional college fair brings far more results than past attempts to bring the same information to students and parents.

“We used to do all of our own independent college fairs,” Cruise said. “But we didn’t receive as good as turnout as this because this is centrally located between the schools in the area.”

Not all of the representatives from the four-state area were from colleges. The United States Air Force and the Army ROTC program at the University of Missouri-Rolla sent representatives. Sgt. Glen Cross of the United States Marine Corps, encouraged high school graduates to join the Marines along with continuing higher education.

“You can go to an open college in your hometown and still hang out with your friends, and still reap the benefits of being a Marine,” Cross said. “You can have pride and that challenging experience that the Marine Corps has to offer.”

The military representatives agreed regional college fairs were successful in the recruiting process.

“This is where we get a lot of our recruits which is right out of high school,” said Todd Spaulding, Master sgt. and recruiter for the United States Air Force. “But most of the time the goals are to just get our information out there and make students aware of us.”

Skaggs said the most important issue was to impress upon students the importance of attaining a college degree.

“We would love for all of the students to come to Missouri Southern, but that’s not realistic,” he said. “[The fair] saves a lot of colleges recruitment money, and allows members of the community to come in and get information about all of the different higher education opportunities that are available, and it’s a part of our public service mission to provide that.”

Some students appreciate the opportunity the regional college fair offers. Cody Gaines, a Carthage High School senior said he heard about the event from a friend.

“It seemed like a good opportunity to see all of my options,” he said.

Dunn said her participation in planning the event has been a good experience for her.

“I’ve had a really good time with it,” she said. “It’s a lot of busy work which is what I enjoy.”