Sept. 21, 2022 — The annual NMH College Fair brought admissions representatives from more than 75 colleges and universities to campus to meet students, conduct in-person interviews, and talk about topics related to the college process. More than 250 students from NMH and several area high schools took advantage of the chance to learn more about colleges and talk face-to-face with their representatives during the college fair on Sunday, Sept. 18.
“The vast majority of the NMH Class of 2023 came through today,” College Counseling Director Joe Latimer said during the fair, which was held under a large tent behind Alumni Hall and was open to students in all grades.
“We’ve also had quite a lot of younger students attend, and for them this is a test run — it’s low stakes,” Latimer said. “They go in with an open mind, and the next thing you know, they’re talking to a college they hadn’t heard of or learning about a study area they’re interested in. It’s part of our philosophy of supporting students at every stage.”
As part of the fair, some college representatives offered college admission interviews to members of the Class of 2023.
“These interviews give us the opportunity to talk casually with students and convey information that might not pop off the page from a brochure,” Cynthia Goheen, associate director of admission at Connecticut College, said, adding that her school attends this fair every year. “We take to heart our tradition of meeting students where they are and supporting them to ground their college experience in their growing sense of purpose. NMH students speak so well to this.”
NMH senior Sunny Pak appreciated the chance to do three college interviews on her “home turf” right in in Social Hall, home to the NMH College Counseling Office.
“I felt like I was in my own space, so that made it more comfortable,” Pak said.
And the experience piqued her interest with at least one college that wasn’t initially on her short list.
“One interviewer was so lovely, and I had the most wonderful conversation with her,” Pak said. “She didn’t ask, ‘Why do you want to come to this college?’ Instead she said, ‘Tell me about yourself. Tell me your story,” and from there my interests naturally came out. We both thought we clicked really well, and it was really nice to have an adult say that to me.”
So far, Pak said, her college search experience has been very positive. She feels fortunate to be at NMH, where her college counselor, Nate Hemphill, also happens to be her academic advisor and a staff member for her dorm.
“I see Nate every day,” she said. “He knows exactly the type of person I am. He’s been really helpful when I’m worried, and he always reassures me, which is really nice.”
At the fair, college representatives made themselves available to students in all grades who were interested in talking about standardized testing, admissions interviews, the college essay, athletics, the arts, and portfolios.
“NMH has cool kids, and we’re always happy to talk to them,” Sam Prouty, director of admissions at Middlebury College, said. “If you're a happy and successful NMH student, you will probably be a happy and successful Middlebury student. They know how to be independent. They know how to plug into the community and not just be a student but be an athlete or an artist or a community activist or whoever they are outside of class. They absolutely know how to write and do research, so they are prepared not only academically, but also in terms of the life that they would live in a small, rural liberal arts college.”
NMH invited students from nearby Stoneleigh-Burnham School in Greenfield, Pioneer Valley Regional High School in Northfield, and Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, Vermont, to attend the fair.
Heidi Merrill, director of college counseling at Stoneleigh-Burnham School, said the NMH fair gave her small senior class of 24 students the chance to interact in person with college representatives without having to travel a long distance.
“My students deserve this kind of experience, and we appreciate that NMH is a good neighbor,” she said.