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September 27, 2012

One stop college shop: Hundreds attend Southern Indiana College Fair

NEW ALBANY — In an era where information of all kinds is available through the Internet, there is still something to be said about face-to-face gatherings.

Just ask Shelbi Bostock.

The New Albany High School senior attended Wednesday night’s Southern Indiana College Fair inside the NAHS gymnasium to talk to representatives from her top two college choices — Indiana University and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. She said she plans on visiting the two campuses before making her final selection.

“It’s always easier to have your questions answered face to face,” Bostock said.

Almost 1,000 students and parents from 18 Southern Indiana high schools hoped to have their questions answered at the annual fair which attracted more than 70 colleges and universities —including some as far away as the University of Alabama. There were also representatives from the four military branches, including the United States Naval Academy, and others to help with financial aid questions.

“A lot of the representatives tell us this is one of the better college fairs they attend,” said New Albany High School counselor Mary Beth Hackman, who led the organizing effort for Wednesday’s event. “Everything is right here, and it’s free. A lot of the representatives like to see juniors and seniors, but it’s open to everyone. All of the schools advertise it.”

Harold “Soup” Campbell, assistant director of admissions and social medial communications coordinator at Depauw University, said college fairs are still important, both to students and universities.

“Everything is on the Internet. You can go to our website and find everything you need to know,” he said. “But college fairs haven’t died off ... it’s good to hand out materials and talk to students. As long as students show up, we will show up.”

Paula Caldwell, an admissions coordinator for Campbellsville University, said her school attends six to eight college fairs a year. She also said it’s important to get out and talk to students face to face. She said many ask the same questions.

“They want to know where we are located, student to faculty ratio, what is there to do in Campbellsville ... those types of questions,” she said.

For Bostock, it was important to get the information she was looking for all in one place. While many of her friends have already made their college selection, she was still shopping, although IU and IUPUI were at the top of her list.

“I hope so,” Bostock said when asked if she would make her selection soon. “They have told me about their campuses, but I still have to make my visits.”

Marquil Hastings, another New Albany High School senior, was wearing a University of Cincinnati sweatshirt — a school he may attend next year. He said he wants to become a veterinarian. He said Purdue and Illinois State are also possibilities.

“It helps to know what I want to major in,” he said.

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