Marysville High School junior Sydney Cassidy knows she wants to study physical therapy in college. What she doesn’t know yet is where she wants to study.

For that reason, she said, she found the NW 33 Corridor College Fair on April 6 helpful.

“My mom encouraged me to come even though I want to go (to college) out of state,” Cassidy said.

Still, she was one of 315 students who attended the fair to learn about the schools’ admissions, academic offerings and student life.

This is the third year for the college fair at Marysville High School. It is a coordinated effort among the Ohio Association for College Admission Counseling and a number of area high schools, such as Marysville, Triad, North Union, Fairbanks and Delaware Hayes.

Lavona See, executive administrator of OACAC, said about 85 schools were represented at this year’s fair. The first year brought 100 schools. Last year, 95 colleges participated.

See said she can’t point to a specific reason for the drop in the number of schools participating.

“I think that travel budgets play into it for colleges,” she said. “What I saw trending was that schools that didn’t come last year came the first year. But we have 20 new schools this year.”

Belinda Quisenberry, Marysville High School guidance counselor, said for the first year, more than 400 students attended the event. Attendance dropped to about 200 last year, but she said it also was the first nice day of spring.

Delaware Hayes college and career counselor Leigh Conant said the fair was timed to make it convenient for college representatives who might have had the Columbus National College Fair on their schedule April 2 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

“To get this amount of colleges, you’re normally going to have to go much farther. So it’s fantastic to have it so close to home,” Conant said.

Conant said some Delaware students make it to the NW 33 fair, and others go to the national fair in Columbus. She said either way, it’s good preparation for high school students.

“This is a great crowd,” she said.

The evening started with a financial-aid presentation in the auditorium at 6 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., the doors opened to the field house, where rows of tables were set up for attending college representatives.

See said organizers try each year to get feedback from college reps so they know how well they handled the preparation and what could be improved.

“The feedback is that our students are prepared,” See said. “I think reps appreciate that our students are curious and that they are prepared with questions.”

All the counselors try to make sure students have good questions ready for representatives, she said.

“A lot of colleges will have an inquiry card to get on their mailing list, so we want students to come prepared with an address label so they can -- not spend time filling out a card -- but rather spend time talking to a college rep,” See said.

Quisenberry said this sort of collaborative effort is a great opportunity to get important information to students.

“As a guidance counselor, what an amazing opportunity to have face-to-face contact and also to be able to maybe find out information about a school that you would never have the money or time to go visit,” Quisenberry said. “It can spark new interest in schools, as well as establish some face-to-face contact with some of your top schools.”

Cassidy said she had a lot to process at the fair, but it was worth the time.

“It’s kind of overwhelming,” she said. “But it just goes to show there are so many options. It really takes a lot to narrow it down.”

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