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Successful College Information Fairs Useful to NHA Scholars

Recently, three National Heritage Academies (NHA) high schools held successful college fairs for their scholars. They were Grand River Prep High School, Kentwood; Oakside Prep Academy, Waterford; and Westfield Prep High School, Redford. In total, NHA has nine high schools, all in Michigan.
 

About 40 colleges, trade or job training programs, and armed services recruiters hosted information tables at the Westfield Prep High School College Night.

The other high schools are Arbor Prep High School, Ypsilanti; Canton Prep High School, Canton; Center Line Prep Academy, Center Line; PrepNet Virtual, Grand Rapids; Taylor Prep High School, Taylor; and Wellspring Prep High School, Grand Rapids.
 
The high schools still have individual universities, colleges, and skilled trade or job training program representatives come to the school to talk in small groups with students interested in their school or program. However, staff at Grand River, Oakside and Westfield wanted to develop a college information night for its scholars and their families.
 
In late spring College Counseling and Early College Manager Teresa Noordhoek, located at the Service Center, was hired to help coordinate the college counseling process across all nine high schools. She also monitors the statewide reports for the Early College Program. Noordhoek was a college counselor at Wellspring Prep previously.
 
The Michigan State University recruiters have some fun at the Westfield College Night.

“I often tell students that going through the college admissions process is like playing a game they don’t know the rules to,” Noordhoek said. “It’s the College and Career Readiness staff members’ job to help them learn the rules.”
 
There is a lot to learn, how to complete college applications, how to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and other college financial aid information, how to ask and get letters of recommendation, complete scholarship requests, gather items needed for applications, and do interviews with college representatives. It’s a long list, explains Noordhoek.
 
Schools holding college fairs is a convenient way to make it easier for parents and scholars to see a variety of colleges, universities, skilled trade or job programs, and even armed services recruiters in one location. It can help families to start firming up the application list.
 
“It’s NHA’s mission to transform lives,” Noordhoek said. “It’s our vision to prepare all students to be college ready. The College and Career Readiness staff are working hard at each high school to make that a reality.”
 
The three high schools that held college fairs are highlighted here.
 
Grand River Prep High School

This representative from Cornerstone University is a former student from Grand River Prep and enjoyed returning to her alma mater.

Grand River Prep recently hosted its second Annual Application Night – College Fair. About 50 students and parents attended with eight college/university representatives and an Army recruiter.
 
“Students were able to meet the reps, talk with them about what the university offered as well as get free college swag items,” College and Career Readiness Counselor Heather Barnard said. “Some students completed applications and one student, Abigail Rivera-Sosa, was accepted to Grand Valley State University at the event!”
 
Barnard and her co-worker Kristin Schumacher-Smith met with parents that night to review important steps their seniors should be completing. They talked about FAFSA, college applications, submitting transcripts, and overall graduation requirements.
 
Oakside Prep Academy

Oakside Prep Academy had about 55 students and family members attend the College Fair.

Oakside Prep Academy held its second Annual College Night recently, as well. College Readiness Coordinator Quadasha Suggs is slowly building the event as Oakside now has ninth and 10th grade students.
 
About 55 students and family members attended the event. They had the opportunity to talk with five colleges and universities and learn more about their programs.
 
“Holding events like this keeps students interested in college, gives students the knowledge of why college is important, and informs students about opportunities that come with a college degree,” Suggs said.

Westfield Prep High School
 
About 40 colleges, trade or job training programs, and armed services recruiters hosted information tables at the Westfield Prep High School College Night.

Westfield Prep High School recently held a well-attended College Night for its scholars. About 300 students and family members came to the event that had 40 colleges, skilled trade or job training programs, and armed services recruiters hosting information tables. Each exhibitor had their own display and presentation.
 
“We were very excited to bring this opportunity to all of our school families, as well as our neighboring NHA K-8 schools who were also invited to participate,” Westfield Prep Principal Katie Sims said. “We received very positive feedback from the colleges who shared that our students were prepared to speak to them and asked thoughtful questions. The credit for this goes to my 11th grade teachers who helped our students create introductions and had them identify their potential majors.”
 
The college night also generated a partnership with Taylor Prep High School where the schools will host a joint event with a representative to lead an orientation to the FAFSA for scholars and families. It is a detailed and complicated process used in applying for financial aid.
 
Sims also explained how they had a mini reunion of Arbor Prep students. “Two former students were college reps and one former student is a current math teacher at Westfield,” Sims said. “Director School Quality Aquan Grant-Wayne was their principal at the time. All were in attendance at the college night, so it was great to have them together again and see how much success each of them has achieved.”
 

National Heritage Academies (NHA) is a network of 98 tuition-free, public charter schools across nine states, serving more than 60,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. For more information, visit nhaschools.com.