VSAC hosts virtual college fair, kicks off Vermont Applies Month

Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 5:35 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 3, 2020 at 10:51 AM EST
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COLCHESTER, Vt. (WCAX) - Students across the state, the country, and the world Wednesday night visited Vermont colleges and universities without stepping on campus. The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation hosted its first-ever virtual college fair. Channel 3′s Christina Guessferd learned how families are making connections through the computer screen.

“We’ve already gone through so much in this past year alone. We kind of just want some sense of normalcy, some sense of, yeah, this is what college is supposed to be like, and not just like, oh yeah, this is college during COVID. We want to know what college is,” said Kaitlyn Hayes, a senior at Colchester High School.

As an aspiring musical theater major, Hayes wasn’t sure if the traditional college experience was for her. That is, until her mom, Karin, noted her school’s hybrid learning model is actually a lot like going to college.”This is as close as you’re going to get to what the college experience is. You go to class for a period of time and then you’re on your own to organize yourself, to do your studies,” Karin said.

Kaitlyn says knowing she already has that skill is comforting and encouraged her to dive deeper into her dream college -- Bennington.

VSAC’s Patrick Leduc says they created the virtual college fair for students like Kaitlyn. “Help the students that are on their path maintain momentum -- and those that may not have started -- inspire them a little to take a look,” he said.

Still, Leduc says they recognize many high schoolers fear their first fall semester will be plagued by the pandemic. “Give the colleges a shot at showing you what they can do. The colleges have done some amazing work as the high schools have done to make things as palatable and exciting as they can for their students,” he said.

In addition to the 45-minute virtual college visits exploring schools like Bennington and Northern Vermont University, prospective families were invited to one-on-one sessions with admissions counselors. St. Michael’s College director of admission Michael Stefanowicz says they’re ready to offer support. “Just simply reach out to the admission office. We’re eager to connect. There are no silly questions. We want to help address what’s on your mind, especially at a time when a lot of things are changing,” he said.

Constant changes that students like Kaitlyn are expecting. “Taking it day by day,” she said.

Wednesday’s virtual college fair kicks off what VSAC is calling Vermont Applies month. Throughout December, the organization is offering online programs and personalized appointments on everything education and application related.

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