There is a school in the United States that is right for everyone.
With those words to hundreds of students accompanied by teachers, parents and guardians, United States Ambassador Dr Larry Palmer officially opened a college fair yesterday at Hilton Barbados.
Recruiters from about 30 colleges and universities from across the US set up booths to lure Bajan students to their campuses. More than 700 people had come through the door by 11 a.m.
Palmer said the fair was part of the 100-strong America Initiative launched by President Barack Obama to increase international study and educational exchanges between American students and their counterparts in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Yolanda Kerney, public affairs officer at the embassy, said the fair took 18 months to plan and they wanted to ensure the right schools with a range of opportunities were being showcased so students had a better opportunity to find the right match.
In addition to the recruiters from individual universities, there were education advisors from the embassy on hand to provide additional information about student visas and the like.
Kerney said there was always a “strong” interest at college fairs and the challenge was to get them to the next step where they go through the application process. Some universities waived the application fees for students applying on the spot.
She also said the institutions came prepared to offer scholarships to local students.
“These universities have scholarship money to give, and we want them to leave here broke,” Kerney told the MIDWEEK NATION.
Students from older and newer secondary schools took the opportunity to collect resource materials and get on-the-spot answers to their queries.
Areas cited by students as their main interests were business, information technology, accounts, agriculture, culinary arts and the arts.
The Ann Hill School, which caters to children with physical and other disabilities, was also represented.
Evelyn Toppin, who accompanied the students to the college fair, said information on the available opportunities would stand the students in good stead.
“Even though they may not be able to handle the high academics, there are the skills and they would find out what programmes are available to them that would help them to become successful, because some of them are pretty good at the skills,” she said.
Toppin added that one Ann Hill student who went on to do culinary arts at an overseas university was doing well, from all reports. (YB)