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PROBE College Fair shows students opportunities
Making the right connections
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Bradwell Institute seniors Shakezz Johnson and DeAndre Day, at table, speak with Claflin University representative Monica Wade on Friday at the PROBE College Fair at Bradwell. The event was open to juniors and seniors of Bradwell, First Presbyterian Christian Academy and Liberty and Long county high schools. - photo by Photo by Danielle Hipps

Students from nearby high schools connected Friday with post-secondary institutions at Bradwell Institute for the Georgia Education Articulation Committee’s PROBE College Fair.
More students registered this year than for past fairs. It  was open to juniors and seniors of Bradwell, First Presbyterian Christian Academy and Liberty and Long county high schools, according to BI guidance counselor Torri Jackson.
The stop is part of a nine-week tour with 58 fairs statewide that aim to stimulate interest by bringing together students, parents, counselors, administrators and representatives of post-secondary institutions including colleges, universities and technical colleges.
“It is important for Georgia’s youth to have access to the best resources when looking to further their education after high school,” PROBE executive director Bill Smith said. “The PROBE College Fair provides a single location for students and their families to learn about a variety of colleges and universities. This makes it easier for students to find a school that meets their needs.”
Technology updates brought a new element to the fair, Jackson said. When students registered online, they could log their personal information and generate a barcode that participating institutions could scan to capture student contacts. The scanners reduce the time students spent filling out contact cards, cutting lines and allowing students to visit with more representatives.
Point University athletic admission counselor Rusty Hassell said the scanners do save time, but they sometimes cut personal interaction, which is where Hassell collects information for student recommendations down the road.
For Bradwell seniors Shakezz Johnson and DeAndre Day, the fair widened their scope.
“I want to major in dental hygiene, so I’m looking for schools that offer that,” Day said.
He added that he’s also interested in playing football in college.
“I think it’s nice,” he said about the fair. “It’s given me more opportunities; instead of just looking at Valdosta State, I can look at more colleges.”
Day and Johnson, who plans to study business management, said they would not have taken the time on their own to seek other colleges like Point University and Claflin University, two of the many they spoke with.  
While long lines gathered for large schools like University of Georgia, smaller schools like Andrew College and Georgia Health Services University also received attention.
Garth Webb, Young Harris College associate director of admissions, added that such events never will replace the value of a campus visit, but they open the door to dialogue with prospective students.
“The follow-up is probably key for us,” Webb said. “Once we get the name, phone number and address, that’s where we can do the most good because we can follow up with a student.”

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