More than 60 colleges and universities converged under sunny skies and a very large and densely occupied tent last Sunday for this year’s NMH college fair.
NMH hosts a college fair each fall. The event offers students an opportunity to meet with college and university representatives, ask questions, grab literature, and get on the schools' mailing lists. All grades are welcomed to attend. NMH college counselors encourage both younger and older students to keep an open mind as they peruse the fair.
“Visit with a rep whose school you hadn't heard of before, knowing there may be something wonderful you learn about yourself and the school,” said Joe Latimer, director of college counseling. “We encourage students, no matter the format, to build and sustain relationships with these college reps, who most likely will read their applications for admission.”
Anne Atkins, associate director of college counseling, said that in addition to the fair, there are roughly 80 day visits planned with admissions officers from colleges and universities in the coming months. These day visits offer presentations and Q & A sessions for seniors.
Atkins said that she works with students to identify schools that are truly a good fit for their interests and ambitions. “There are many, many wonderful colleges and universities out there,” she said. “I try to tell kids, ‘It's you that's going to make it, not the place. You're bringing yourself wherever you go.’” She strives to help each student focus on the distinct qualities of the schools they find enticing. “You want to be in a place where you're comfortable, where you're going to thrive, where you're going to be able to push yourself.”
NMH students receive consistent, personalized support throughout the college search process, including guidance through college-entrance exams, visits, and applications. NMH college counselors also serve as teachers, coaches, advisors, and mentors.
Yash Grover ’24 has been working with his college counselor since January of his junior year. “I've been constantly in touch with the college process,” he said. “They've been consistently giving us reminders and a bunch of checklists. I think that's really helpful. I grew up in Egypt and then Uganda, as well as India, and a lot of times we didn't really have a lot of information, especially about American schools. But now that I'm here, it's a lot easier.”
Many college counselors at the fair commented on the depth of preparation that students brought to the tables. “I'm always impressed with how professional they are,” said Brian Denzak of Suffolk University. “They're very articulate. They ask thoughtful questions. They come prepared.”
Denzak and others noted that questions about study abroad and internships were hot topics this year. STEM programs were also high on student-inquiry lists.
The fair was packed throughout the Sunday afternoon event. Students from several area schools, including Vermont Academy, Stoneleigh Burnham, the Academy at Charlemont, and Pioneer Valley Regional School, were also invited. “We want to be a good neighbor,” said Latimer.
Students were clearly eager to explore the possibilities for their futures. “I’m really excited to go to college,” said Mabel Chesnes ’25. “I thrive in independence. I saw my sister’s space at UMass and fell in love with the idea of going to college.” Chesnes said she wants to study forensics and, like many other students, wandered the fair to see what she could discover.