College fair helps students plan for future

By Elizabeth Sias

Area high school students recently had the opportunity to learn about college admissions, dorm life and more.

Junior Taylor Peterson visits with a college representative during the college fair Thursday morning. Photos by Elizabeth Sias

A college fair with 80 college and military representatives took place the morning of Thursday, Sept. 29, at Cambridge-Isanti High School.

“We like to have it during the day so that all students have the opportunity to explore and talk to college reps,” said CIHS College and Career Adviser Mari Ringness. “Some students may not have transportation to come in the evening, so this gives them the opportunity to have access to speak to all the different levels — community and technical colleges, four-year colleges and military reps.”

Students from Princeton and North Branch also came to the fair, sponsored by the Minnesota Association for College Admission Counseling (MACAC), which provides the school with a budget to rent the tables for booths, provide food and advertise.

“Studies show you do need some type of post-high school training to be successful in life and make a decent living,” Ringness said.

Juniors Carly Dupre, left, and Megan Koester fill out forms at the University of Minnesota booth during the college fair at Cambridge-Isanti High School the morning of Thursday, Sept. 29.

Ninth and 10th graders at CIHS have career exploration units to help them start thinking about what they want to do beyond high school, preparing them early on. By the time students attend the fair as a junior or senior, Ringness said, they should have an idea of what they’re interested in studying and know which colleges to look at.

“We tell them to start looking or thinking about what they want to do for a career in ninth grade, and then tell them they should start visiting colleges and visiting with reps in their junior year and start applying in fall of their senior year,” she said. “A lot of the seniors that went to the college fair hopefully have a good idea of where they want to go, so today they were just narrowing it down and asking the final questions.”

Juniors Carly Dupre, who wants to become a physical therapist, and Megan Koester spoke with representatives from various colleges, including the University of Minnesota.

“It’s kind of cool all the different options there are,” said Koester, who plans to study special education or go into the medical field, but is undecided. “This is the time to figure that out.”

Junior Mitchell Tillges visited the college fair with his mother Denise Tillges.

Junior Mitchell Tillges, right, and his mom Denise look over materials about St. Cloud State University during the college fair.

“I like it because everything is all in one spot and you can actually talk to somebody instead of looking it up on the website,” Denise said.

Mitchell said he wants to study illustration for children’s books and visited booths for the College of Visual Arts, St. Cloud State University and several others. He has college campus visits scheduled for the coming months.

“It’s useful for the people that are really serious about it and actually looking at colleges,” he said. “And I have to admit, the free pencils are pretty cool.”