College fair draws hundreds of vendors

Amidst a crisp and warm Tuesday afternoon, the College Fair took over the main quad at Santa Monica College.

Opportunistic students shuffled from booth to booth amid visions of a future in places such as Coral Gables, Florida, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Northridge, California.

Students had the opportunity to interact with representatives from 200 universities and colleges ranging from major universities including the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Kansas, and the University of Miami, to lesser known universities such as the National University Golf Academy and even foreign schools like the University of Guadalajara and the University of York.

Representatives from each school distributed materials on issues ranging from academic standards to student housing and, in the case of the University of Kansas, the evolution of the school's mascot.

However, the fair was a chance for students to learn things about prospective schools that go beyond what is printed in the recruitment materials.

For SMC student and kinesiology major Michael Thompson, the fair was an opportunity to ask questions on transfer requirements and graduate schooling.

"These people that come and sit here, they have a lot of information. There is no question that is too stupid. They just need to ask, they need to inquire," Thompson said.

For smaller and foreign universities, the fair was an opportunity to present themselves to a student body that may not be aware of their existence.

According to Jayne Hindle, the Head of School Administration for the University of Manchester, the Southern California region is a growing recruitment base for the English university.

"The markets are opening up. For some universities like Manchester it's a trial but there are more established universities like [the University of] York," Hindle said.

SMC President and Superintendent Dr. Chui L. Tsang was pleased by the positive reaction to foreign universities.

"I got a chance to talk with some of the universities from Britain who were reporting better than expected student reactions," Tsang said. "We don't have enough experience to know that our students are interested to go abroad to study.

While students were offered a bouquet of college choices, each selection can represent a definitive choice on a pathway towards a future.