Colleges, high schools converge for Higher Education Day

WATERTOWN — North country high school students were given the opportunity to visit dozens of colleges from all across the state at Monday’s Higher Education Day.

The event, hosted at Jefferson Community College, brought representatives from two- and four-year schools and the armed forces all to one place. Two “sessions” were hosted in the school’s McVean Center Gymnasium, a morning one and an evening one.

Students from 13 high schools across the region were brought in for the morning session, hosted from 10 a.m. to noon.

Assistant Director of Admissions Amy O’Donnell said there had also been presentations before the morning session for students to “learn what kind of questions to ask college representatives, and how to make the most of the day.”

She said there were over 100 representatives Monday from colleges and branches of the armed forces.

Ms. O’Donnell said while JCC has hosted Higher Education Day for over 10 years, it only recently began including a morning visitation session.

Event chairman and Sackets Harbor Central School District Counselor Ryan Tastor said that “busing students in gives them more access to the resources offered here.”

After 11 years in the position, 2017 marks Mr. Tastor’s final year leading the event. Bryanne Bowman, counselor at Carthage High School, will replace Mr. Tastor as chairperson next year.

Ms. Bowman said that because “some students don’t have the time or resources to visit colleges independently, we have a responsibility to make sure they take advantage of this opportunity.”

Jamie Lynn Mendelson said Monday’s event helped her “get a lot of surprising information” about some of the schools whose tables she visited.

“Like how Syracuse has a really high job placement rating for this sports-related program I looked at,” said Jamie Lynn, a senior at Sackets Harbor.

She said she was also surprised at the “wide variety of colleges” at the event. She said she had spoken with representatives from SUNY Oswego, Cazenovia College, Syracuse University, and ROTC.

Alicia Cloe, a junior at Sackets, said Higher Education Day allowed her to narrow her focus of schools.

“This gave me the opportunity to explore what I might be interested in, and then I can shift my focus based on that,” she said. Alicia said she visited the SUNY Delhi and Adirondack tables.

Their counselor Mr. Tastor said he had seen a change in student interest and dedication to the college application process during his time chairing Higher Education Day.

“There’s definitely a correlation between this event and that increase,” he said.

Ms. Bowman, who previously worked for Colgate University’s admissions department, also said she had seen a change “on both sides,” at both the high school and college levels.

Higher Education Day and its counterpart evening session are hosted every year by JCC in late September or early October.

Any college-bound person is welcome to attend, and admission is free.

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