Niagara Gazette

March 13, 2013

Checking out colleges near and far at Niagara Falls High School

by Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Schurron Cowart spent two and a half months building up the lineup for Niagara Falls High School's annual college and career fair. She called area colleges, some trade providers and even invited the military.

Then some couldn't come in person. Now, with technology the way it is, it didn't faze the pupil service assistant. She simply set up a computer and had representatives talking via Skype to interested high school students.

"It's great for the students here at the high school," Cowart said. "They get to meet with the colleges they'd otherwise be unable to go out to themselves. And we even have Skype for the colleges who were unable to send a representative here. The technology is impressive."

Seniors Khadeja Smith and Paige Archie certainly took advantage of both the video conferenced representative and those who were able to physically attend.

Smith said she attended to find more information about scholarships she might be able to secure for school next year, while Archie said her eye was focused on the technology in the auxiliary gymnasium, where the fair was held.

It's designed to set up college recruiters with students who haven't finalized decisions on where they wish to attend college, either next year if they're graduating or whenever they leave high school.

As Meghan Harmon, assistant director of admissions at D'Youville College, said, it's all about finding what the student needs and matching what the college offers.

"We talk about what the school is all about," she said. "We talk about certain majors and discuss the campus. We try to find out what we can do to help them."

Justin Rodgers, who represented State University of New York at Brockport, said what the student is interested in needs to align with what the college offers. But for his school, under the SUNY system, it's also about being affordable.

"I try to find out what interests the students," he said. "We're a smaller school. We have 49 majors but we're also part of SUNY, which means lower tuition than the private schools."

In addition to the colleges and the careers displayed, County Legislator Owen Steed was also in attendance registering students to vote.

He said students need to do it, no matter when.

"It's never too early," he said. "It's important."