NEWTOWN, W.Va. — Seniors at Mingo Central High School will take part in the school’s annual college fair Wednesday after 91 percent of those seniors filled out college applications last week.
The weeklong effort was part of the state Higher Education Policy Commission’s College Application and Exploration Week.
Mingo Central Social Studies teacher Debbie Butcher said they decided to have activities every day to make the college application process top of mind for students.
“If we were just to have one day then there’s not as much focus on it,” she said. “By including the activities that can include the whole school it shows not only the support of our seniors but it also opens the door to our underclassmen.”
Student Brittany Lester, one of the 147 seniors at Mingo Central, helped organize the activities and applied to West Virginia University.
“I believe that a lot of students have been introduced to options that they didn’t realize they had,” she said.
The students applied to four-year colleges and two-year community and technical colleges. Butcher said students realize that can get jobs quickly by going the technical college route.
“I see a growing trend toward that because of the growth in the career tech occupations,” she said.
Mingo Central school counselor Christine Harmon is also the mother of a college student. She said the college application process can be intimidating for parents and students. She said the HEPC’s GEAR UP program has helped significantly.
“That program is just amazing and has given me lots of tips and information that help me. It can be intimidating each year to sit down and do the FAFSA,” Harmon said.
Mingo Central’s Lester said she saw her fellow classmates take a big step toward their education futures last week.
“For a lot of people it was a big relief because it turned out not to be as difficult as they thought it would be,” she said.
Nearly 250 elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and adult basic education classes participated in application and exploration week.