Washington County College Fair gives local students look at future
Herald Mail - Updated - CJ Lovelace
Picking where to attend college can be a big decision.
Luckily for hundreds of local students at Wednesday night’s Washington County College Fair at Hagerstown Community College, there were plenty of choices.
More than 120 regional and national universities, colleges and technical schools were on hand for the event, now in its 11th year.
Kevin Crawford, director of admissions at HCC, said the fair typically draws between 700 to 800 people, helping expose county students to many post-secondary institutions that cannot make it to specific high schools.
“We’ve had schools coming back for many years, just because they know we get great students from the county here,” he said. “It’s that one opportunity you can come see a bunch of schools at one time.”
For some students, it’s a time to get ideas about the next chapter in their lives. For others, the search can be very specific.
That’s was the case for Hunter Clark, a 17-year-old senior at South Hagerstown High School planning to study forensic anthropology next year.
Hunter attended the fair with his father, David Clark, who was impressed with the amount of schools in one location.
“It’s good to be able to come out and talk to so many schools,” he said.
A joint effort between HCC and Washington County Public Schools, the event also serves as a fundraiser that provides scholarships to county students, Crawford said.
While all the schools set up displays on the main gym floor of HCC’s Athletic, Recreation and Community Center, a computer lab on the second floor served as the venue for a FAFSA Frenzy workshop.
The workshop is one of many being organized in the coming months to help county high school seniors fill out the FAFSA, short for Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
“It’ll tell them what federal aid they’re eligible for, like grants or loans, and many Maryland institutions require it,” said Christina Williams, manager of the WCPS Foundation.
The prospect of paying for college can be daunting, so it’s smart to start planning early, Williams said.
“It’s encouraging to see so many people come out to start planning for their education,” she said. “The biggest barrier often is paying for it.”