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36th Annual College Fair Attracts Chester County Students at Exton Square Mall

Exton, PA – High school students and their parents were eager to learn about their post-graduation options at the Exton Square Mall on October 21, when over 150 colleges nationwide gathered for the 2019 Chester County College Fair. Attendees explored schools from coast to coast in a matter of hours, visiting college and university booths representing schools from Pennsylvania to California.

Coordinated by the Chester County Intermediate Unit, the annual college fair drew over 2,000 students and parents from 50 high schools throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware.

Those who attended the event were excited to learn about their post-graduation options. “I want to find colleges that I can visit later or just have on my radar,” said Samantha, a junior at Downingtown STEM Academy who is keeping an open mind about her options after she graduates. Other students were looking for something more specific. Lakyn Shultz, a senior at Downingtown West High School, was on the hunt for the best fit, “I’m leaning towards the field of business, so I have been focusing on schools that have strong business programs,” Shultz said.

Bringing hundreds of institutions together under the same roof made it easy for students and their parents to investigate post-graduation opportunities. Additionally, it enabled college representatives to really connect with potential students in a low-pressure setting. Kimberly Abdula, an admissions representative from Rider University, attended the fair for the first time this year and was optimistic about its reach. “We love connecting with high school students and educating them about our college. We have a small, close-knit campus where students are driven and extremely supportive of each other. Students often feel like it’s their second family. I’m excited to share this with students and talk about other reasons why our school is so special and see if it’s the right fit for them,” Abdula said.

The fair provided an opportunity for students and their parents to meet with representatives from colleges and universities, as well as nursing schools, junior colleges, community and technical colleges, trade and skill schools and branches of the military. Participants and representatives discussed entrance requirements, financial aid, campus life and academic programs. The students also had access to informational brochures and catalogs, which they could take home to review.

The local colleges and universities that participated in the event included: Bloomsburg University, Cabrini University, Drexel University, Immaculata University, Lock Haven University, Thaddeus Stevens College and West Chester University. Out-of-state institutions included: Campbell University, High Point University, University of Alabama, University of Mary Washington, University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech.

Additionally, colleges and universities that offer programs for students with disabilities attended an early hour session called Transitioning Beyond High School. During the session, representatives discussed topics including: entitlement versus eligibility when accessing college resources; Intellectual Disability (ID) categorization; receiving a certificate versus receiving a four-year degree; and, living and transportation accommodations. 

The College Fair is organized by the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) on behalf of the guidance counselors of Chester County and sponsored by CCRES Educational and Behavioral Health Services (www.ccres.org). For more information regarding the fair and other CCIU events, please contact Jay Stone at JayS@cciu.org or call 484-237-5053.

Kelsey Kilgore
Kelseyk@cciu.org
484-237-5214