Selecting the perfect college to attend can be nerve-wracking for any high school senior, but luckily for Oktibbeha County seniors, the annual college fair provided a wealth of information.
Representatives from 16 colleges and universities from all over Mississippi filled the National Guard Armory in Starkville to educate high school juniors and seniors about the opportunities each schools offers. Starkville High School Counselor Leterice Townsend felt it imperative to make the fair available to not only the seniors, but also to the juniors.
“Most of the seniors already know where they are going to college, but it’s important that the juniors start preparing and being aware of entrance requirements,” Townsend said. “That’s our goal is to start getting the juniors thinking about college and what they want to do after high school.”
Mississippi State University brought representatives from 12 different colleges like architecture, agriculture, veterinary medicine and forestry. Other colleges and universities present were Alcorn State University, Belhaven University, Blue Mountain College, Delta State University, East Mississippi Community College, Hinds Community College, Lane College, Millsaps College, Mississippi College, Mississippi University for Women, Mississippi Valley State University, Rust College, Tougaloo College, University of Mississippi and University of Southern Mississippi. Various branches of the military were also represented for those interested in serving after high school.
“It’s nice that there are so many (colleges and universities) represented,” SHS student Kelly Olivieri said. “It’s giving us more options and really giving us a chance to get up close and personal with (the recruiters).”
Traditionally, Starkville High School has hosted an annual college fair on campus, but continuing budget cuts have forced college recruiters to reduce their travel. However, Townsend was able to turn the college fair into a countywide event, allowing all schools within Oktibbeha County to attend.
“This is the best way to reach the largest number of students,” said Belhaven recruiter Josh Reid. “By coming to a countywide fair, we’re able to hit a lot of schools in a short period of time when we might not have been able to reach all the schools in the country previously.”
SHS junior Nikkie Pegues came to the fair armed with her mother Laurie Ellis, who took time off work to help guide her daughter in her college search.
“I’m just as excited as she is,” Ellis said of her daughter. “I didn’t have this type of environment coming out of schools, so I hope with my experience, and this fair, I can guide her in the right direction.”
Though only a junior, Pegues has already mapped out a career path and used the college fair as a way to help finalize her plans.
“It feels good to have a head start,” Pegues said. “And with my mom being here, it helps out even more.”