Now in its sixth year, College Possible Minnesota is bringing back its annual partner fair series, Beyond the Brochure: College Possible College Partner Fair. The College Partner Fair is an opportunity for new high school AmeriCorps coaches to learn in-depth information about the colleges that College Possible Minnesota students are commonly interested in attending. Many AmeriCorps coaches are not originally from Minnesota or are not familiar with the plethora of colleges in the state. The partner fair helps them gain an understanding of what each college has to offer, as well as what the application process looks like so they can better guide their students to make an informed and best-fit college decision.
Over the last six years, College Possible’s College Partner Fair has taken many forms – from a large, in-person fair, to virtual sessions. This year, for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, the College Partner Fair returned to an in-person format at College Possible’s headquarters. Unlike previous years, instead of having one large fair, the Partner Fair takes place over a series of Fridays throughout the fall – with two or three colleges visiting each Friday morning. Over the course of an hour, college representatives give a 15-minute presentation about their institution, after which, coaches have time to ask questions about each college or university.
So far, Augsburg University, the College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University, Gustavus Adolphus College, Hamline University, Macalester College, St. Catherine University, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and the University of St. Thomas have visited College Possible to participate in the College Partner Fair, with Carleton College, Dougherty Family College, and St. Olaf College slotted to participate later this fall. The Partner Fair is not only beneficial to College Possible coaches, but a chance for College Possible’s partner colleges to share information about their institution and programs with coaches, who assist over 400+ high school seniors in crafting their top five college lists. Each coach walks away from the fair with a college contact who they can reach out to with questions or to advocate for their students during the application process.
In feedback surveys thus far, coaches have shared they found the event series very valuable and were grateful for the opportunity to “ask and hear other’s questions specific to the students we’re working with.” Similarly, college partners have shared that they “enjoyed being in person,” and loved hearing the questions that coaches, and consequently College Possible students, had.