Planning for the future after graduation is often a nerve-wracking experience for High School students. To help ease tensions, Oswego High School held its first in-person college fair in 2022 after two years of social distancing and mask mandates. On Sept. 8, sophomores, juniors, and seniors were invited into the auxiliary gym to learn about future options for college from admissions officers, trade school representatives, and military recruiters.
While it’s confirmed the number of presenters was lower than in previous years, 56 colleges, including military branches, attended the fair providing a wide variety from all over the U.S. There were 25 in-state colleges, 20 from other states in the Midwest, five outside the Midwest, and six military branches.
The Chicago Area Regional Representatives (CARR), a group based in the Chicagoland area, also appeared at the college fair. The CARR makes it easier for distant colleges and universities to connect with students, helping them expand their options. It represented five colleges: Grand Canyon University (Arizona), The University of Alabama (Alabama), Monmouth University (New Jersey), the University of Nebraska- Lincoln (Nebraska), and WyoTech (Wyoming).
“There is so much good information here, and you want people to learn about it,” Director of Student Services Patti Marcinko said. “They’re getting a lot of information, but they don’t have to go to many different places to get it.”
Due to COVID-19, visitors besides students and staff have not been allowed into the building to advertise post-graduate options over the past two years. However, now that the college fair has returned, so have the additional college programs offered by Student Services. In the Career Center, students can make appointments with colleges and connect with military advisers and other postsecondary education options.
Not only have old traditions returned, but they also brought new advancements. This year at the fair, recruiters utilized a new system called Strive Scan, an app that analyzes student QR codes to provide quick information to the user. Students fill out standard information such as GPA, ethnicity, and contact information. In return, colleges use this information to form connections and initiate contact with interested students.
“I don’t need to stress so much over finding the perfect fit,” junior Em Bensinger said. “I will find it, and I will know what’s calling me, and this just shows me, ‘oh, here’s what calls me, and here’s what doesn’t.”