Empowering Futures: Inside the Great Hearts College Symposium
Great Hearts Academies February 7, 2024 -
Over 500 sophomores, juniors, and parents from the Great Hearts academies throughout Arizona embarked on Scottsdale Prep this past weekend with one thing in common – the desire to gain more information to help with their upcoming college decisions. The participants had the opportunity to meet with representatives from 62 colleges at the 16th Annual Great Hearts College Symposium.
“The Great Hearts College Symposium is an opportunity for parents and students to come and interact with colleges from across the country,” said Great Hearts Director of College Counseling, Roslyn Fletcher. “It’s a great event for exposure for students to see what’s out there. In addition to our fabulous in state schools, there are some really fantastic out-of-state options for students to consider as well. [We have a] variety of types of colleges – we have some tech schools, we have private liberal arts colleges, we have state schools – pretty much anything that you would want as a sampling at the Great Hearts College Symposium.”
The event began with a common application workshop, setting the stage for attendees to explore multiple classrooms hosting information tables manned by college representatives. Unlike conventional college fairs typically held in expansive gymnasiums or halls, this symposium presented a unique setup. With a maximum of three colleges stationed in smaller classrooms, students enjoyed more intimate interactions with representatives. They could freely choose which sessions to attend, listening to mini presentations and seeking guidance. Meanwhile, parents had the option to attend a dedicated Financial Aid Presentation.
The afternoon reached its pinnacle as students circled back to college booths, ready to engage in personal discussions and pose additional questions to representatives and recruiters. “This is about exposure,” said Fletcher. “Learning, gaining knowledge, learning about the options, and being able to have face to face interaction with colleges.” There is great value in getting one-on-one facetime with prospective schools, and our students wasted no time in taking advantage of every opportunity.
The benefits of this event are more than just meeting with colleges and collecting swag. “In addition to soaking up the information that colleges can present to them about their institution, they learn about the general college admissions process by coming to the symposium,” said Fletcher. “What are colleges looking for in an applicant? What information is important to them? What can students do between now and when they graduate to really put their best foot forward in terms of a college application? This is a great event for students to learn about different colleges and be exposed to what’s available to them. It’s a two-hour commitment on a Saturday, which can be tough, but I think it’s well worth the investment.”
Many of the college representatives mention the confidence the students exude when speaking to them and their ability to articulate their questions. This confidence and focus in our students is a testament to the amazing college counselors at Great Hearts. These dedicated professionals at each academy have provided our scholars with great one-on-one support and have really taken the time to get to know the students and their future goals. The support through phone calls, emails, and information nights have helped parents prepare for the upcoming college years. Everything from real-life costs to expect, to reminders of upcoming deadlines, and keeping families on track have facilitated a smooth transition from high school to higher education.
With the college counseling program and events like this one, the high level of college preparedness a high school scholar receives at Great Hearts is truly a hidden gem, empowering students to navigate the path towards higher education with confidence and purpose.
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