More than 5,000 high school students streamed through BMCC’s gymnasium Monday, Oct. 22, stopping into the Manhattan version of the Big Apple College Fair to speak with representatives from roughly 200 colleges around the United States.
The Big Apple College Information Program, celebrating its 28th anniversary, holds one college fair per year in each New York City borough in an effort to give high schoolers an opportunity to speak privately with experienced counselors about the college admissions process.
Last year, BMCC held the Manhattan borough fair and saw wild success with more than 2,000 students showing. BMCC President Antonio Perez was so pleased that he volunteered the college to hold it again this year. This year, the numbers point to the success being even greater.
“This is a tremendous showing,” said Eugene Barrios, director of enrollment management at BMCC. “The message is out that to have any opportunity in today’s society, you need to have an education. I think this goes to show these kids are really hungry for one.”
Ricardo Mebley, a junior at Clara Barton High School, said he’d talked to representatives from about 10 schools, including his last stop, SUNY Albany.
“I think the fair is helpful in bringing the colleges to me, instead of me having to go to each college I’m interested in,” Mebley said.
Mebley was one of thousands of high school students who moved from table-to-table, packing plastic bags with informational packages from colleges.
The representative at CUNY’s Baruch College table said he came with 250 pamphlets, and was quickly left with none.
“It’s been very busy,” said Hugo Morales, assistant director of undergraduate admission and financial aid services at Baruch. “This really helps us get the word out to prospective students about what is expected of them.”
Meanwhile, Camilla Shipman, assistant director of recruitment at private Clark Atlanta University, estimated that 500 students stopped by her school’s desk.
“Because New York City is so big, you can’t get to every high school,” she said, “so the Big Apple Fairs help us at least get to every borough, allowing students the chance to come speak to us.”
Lancia Burke, a college advisor at Pace High School, said the entire 11th and 12th grade class from Pace attended — roughly 200 kids.
“This might create some opportunities and considerations the students didn’t previously think of,” Burke said. “There are so many colleges … they should be making the most informed choice.”
Even BMCC students take advantage of the fair, said Brenda Worthington, who’s BMCC’s supervisor of recruitment and the organizer of the Big Apple College Fair here.
“Some of our students will go inside and browse around, using it as an opportunity for them to be exposed to schools they may want to transfer to once they graduate,” said Worthington, who added that she wanted to thank the entire Admissions staff for the contributions they made to the fair’s success.