Last week, Sealy High School hosted College Night where representatives from universities and military branches could talk with students ranging from sixth grade to 12th grade. Representatives also provided the students with pamphlets and answered their questions.
While it may sound like an event specifically for upperclassmen in high school, a majority of the students in attendance were freshmen and sophomores with some junior high students also in attendance. For students like freshman Chauntel Wilson, who already knows she wants to pursue criminal justice or nursing as a career, it was an opportunity she knew she had to pursue.
“I convinced my mom to take me and my friend because I want to get out there and learn about all the options that are out there for me,” Wilson said. “I know what I want to do but not really much else so asking those questions will help me down the road.”
Wilson’s friend, fellow freshman Desani Legan, said she initially wasn’t planning on going to the event but after being convinced was glad she had.
“I want to either help kids or senior citizens and there are a lot of different ways to do that so being able to ask all these different schools how they can help me do that is really helpful,” she said. “I want to go out there and make the world a better place and these places will help you do it and this is where you learn how.”
For the students, those who know their aspirations and those who are still finding them, what exactly to ask the representatives isn’t always clear. That’s why students like Sealy freshman Morgan Smith brought their parents with them.
“It brings everybody together instead of having us go to each separate campus and we can ask the right questions for our kids to help them compare between the schools and get them used to the process that’s coming up,” Morgan’s father John Smith, said.
Morgan Smith said talking about college and future opportunities motivates her to do well in school.
For the schools, the night isn’t so much a competition as it is an opportunity to help potential future students. Gary Dickens, a father to a freshman who is pursuing physical therapy as a career, shared his story of one school that suggested an alternate route to help the family.
“It’s refreshing because one guy told us that if she wanted to do that, instead of going to their school they should become a physical therapist through Blinn because they have one of the best programs in the state,” Dickens said. “He then started talking about Texas State for what to do after that because we can get it cheaper through Blinn then go to a good postgraduate program. The honesty of that and seeing that these schools want the best for the kids even if it isn’t with them was really nice.”
For schools not within a short drive of Houston, these nights can be a valuable experience to expand their reach outside of their own local areas. Wahhab Carter, associate director of admission and southwest regional director for University of Denver, said this is a new area the school is reaching out to.
“We get a lot of students from Texas and we didn’t do anything in this area so this our first year doing this here,” he said. “The importance for us is seeing if a student is interested in going out of state and making our presence known to them because we could give them some opportunities they haven’t considered before.”