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Bottom Line staff and students at this year’s College Expo.

Every March, college students all over the country get to step away from their studies and take a week off to relax and recuperate. For many, this conjures up images of sunny days spent on the beach. At Bottom Line, it means the time has come to attend the College Expo. Designed to give high school seniors a chance to learn more about some of the most popular colleges in the area, the Bottom Line College Expo, is similar to a college fair with some key differences: when the event is scheduled and who is invited.

Unlike a traditional college fair often held over the summer or in the fall for prospective students, we host our event mid-March once most students have some college decisions and our college students are home for break. Instead of having admissions staff tabling, we ask our college students to volunteer their time and represent their college. Students are excited to be able to give back and often talk about being at the event themselves in years past, feeling a similar anxiety and anticipation as they attempted to make a college decision.

This year, Bottom Line-MA’s College Expo was held at UMass-Boston. With over 70 student volunteers, some alumni turned staff, and lots of energy from everyone it was our most successful event thus far. Students had an opportunity to listen to a panel of college student speakers varying in years and institutions about college life in general. Then they broke out for lunch and were given an opportunity to have one-on-one conversations. Student feedback included comments like “It was a different experience hearing from actual college students then from just college administrators,” and “…after hearing everyone’s experience with college it makes me less scared of college.”

Many students are unable to visit all the colleges they are accepted to; by connecting them with students who are enrolled there and reflect their diversity, Bottom Line is able to provide some of that personalized perspective in their own backyard. As students gear up to make a college commitment by May 1st, these are the kinds of opportunities that can inform their decision making process and help them choose the colleges that best fit their needs.

-Written by Bottom Line Access Counselor, Emelda Lagos

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