A Guide for High School Students for Getting Ready for the HBCU College Fair

Do you know a high school student coming to the New York Urban League HBCU Fair on November 14 at Riverbank Park? Make sure they’re registered here! To help the students in your life prepare, we’ve asked Janelle Washington, Academic Advisor at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, for advice on how to get the most out of a college fair! She’s generously offered to answer questions from black and Latino high school scholars at Achievement First University Prep High School.

What should I be thinking about in terms of Private vs Public Colleges and In-State vs Out-of State Colleges?   When researching colleges, one of the first things you may want to think about is the cost of attendance. College costs are increasing and are a determining factor in enrolling and completing college. Therefore, set a budget with your family to determine what is affordable and look at those colleges that are within your budget.  College is an investment, so consider all payment options including loans and scholarships and be smart about your academic and financial investments.  There are many great and affordable colleges and universities, so do your research.  Typically, the cost of attending a private college or university is more than the cost of a public college or university, however some private colleges may offer more scholarships and grants than a public institution. Out-of-state public college or university tuition is usually more expensive than in-state public college or university tuition. In-state institutions offer residents of the respective state lesser tuition and often times students have access to state funded scholarships and grants.

Should I have any questions prepared when attending a College Fair?  Yes.  A few of the questions that should be asked at a college fair are:

  • What is the full cost of attending the college for the amount of years you plan to attend?
  • Is the school public or private?
  • What is campus life like, socially and academically?
  • How large is the school?
  • What are the enrollment requirements?
  • What is the ratio of students to teachers?

What should I find out about Campus life, Greek life and school programs before committing to a college? Learning about the different clubs and organizations a college/university has to offer is important when trying to determine which school to attend.  Exploring interests outside of your major can be beneficial to your personal and professional development.  Interests outside of your major can help you develop networking and social skills to assist you when you enter the workforce.  Fraternities and Sororities are also great ways to network, build social skills and develop lifelong friendships.  Additionally, Fraternities and Sororities also participate in community service. Your collegiate career is a good time to create new opportunities, develop new skills and explore interests.

What are the important things to understand about high school GPA’s?  GPA stands for Grade Point Average.  Your GPA is a measure of your academic achievement.  It is also used to evaluate your overall performance in school compared to the other prospective students. Your GPA is an integral part of your college admission.  It is not the only factor colleges consider, but it is substantive. It is important because it communicates to colleges whether or not you are able to handle their work and how well you will perform if admitted to that college.

Janelle WashingtonJanelle Washington is an Academic Advisor for the BMCC Learning Academy at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. She earned her Master’s in Public Administration from Baruch College and a B.S. in Public Administration from Virginia State University. Janelle has a passion for helping young adults reach their full potential.


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