Great Turn Out at the College and Career Fair

Caleb Talley, Writer

The BJHS College and Career Fair was from 4:30 to 6:30 pm on Wednesday, August 31. There were 65+ colleges, universities, and businesses there. We had a great turnout of students, ranging from freshmen getting in early to be prepared and seniors preparing to finish out the last year and figure out what they want to do. I spent my time there talking to many college recruiters/representatives, students interested in their futures, and parents ready to help their children figure out what they want to do with their futures. 

I started by first talking to the Vanderbilt representative Anissa Perkins who was very helpful in helping me understand what goes on at Vanderbilt. I asked about what the majority of their students majored in, and she said mainly said Economics, Spanish, and Social Sciences. I was also quite interested to know that Vanderbilt has over 500 interest organizations and 35+ clubs. Along with that, they have 30 residence halls and 18 dining locations. Vanderbilt is a private college in Nashville, TN with an average attendance cost of about $85,000 including room and board, books, tuition, etc. 

Next, I talked to Auburn University representative Bryce Gray who showed me the scholarship program and some other Auburn information. Auburn has 5 resident and 3 non-resident scholarship opportunities ranging from $3.5k to $10.5k for residents and $11k to $16.5k for non-residents. The scholarships for residents require ACT scores ranging from 28-29 up to 33-36, for non-resident students it is 29-30 up to 33-36. About 61% of Freshmen are awarded scholarships. Auburn is a school split about 50/50 between Male and Female students (15,681 Male/ 15,845 Female) with students from all 50 states and over 80 countries. Auburn is a great school to attend for their Veterinary School, Journalism, Management, and Agriculture degrees and majors. The cost yearly is $12,176 in-state, and $32,960 out-of-state, and rated the best college in Alabama by Forbes

In between walking around and talking to different college reps, I interviewed a few students. I asked them why they were at the College and Career Fair, what careers they hoped to go into in the future, and where they were thinking about going to college. Sophomore Jackson Hart said, “I came to see what was possible for my future and see what was available in automotive mechanics. The career I want in the future is to be Rally Racing or any racing. Since I was a child, I’ve been interested in racing and I think automotive mechanics will help that. I am interested in Christian Brothers University along with Ole Miss.” Senior Hunter Richardson said, “I came here this afternoon to brighten my future by looking into colleges and the U.S. Air Force. I am interested in Aircraft Manifacturing as a possible future career. I’m looking into attending Calhoun Community College, Ole Miss or Marion Military Institute.”

Along with the student interviews, I talked to Dr. Bostick, our college and career counselor, about her experience with organizing the fair.  She shared, “The college and career fair is a great way for parents and students to gather information about college and the workforce. It allows them to discover new colleges, connect with admission representatives, and explore their options.” 

Dr. Bostick also invited organizations that train and/or hire students directly out of high school. She said, “Bank Independent, KTECH, North Alabama Home Builders Association, and all military branches were present to provide students with career options. These organizations are ready to hire or train students for the workforce.”    

I spoke with representatives from the U.S. Army who talked about different positions in the Army. Most people go into Army jobs like infantry and supply transportation. The Army also has many benefits, such as paying for college, offering high-quality low-cost healthcare, and 30 days of paid vacation. 

I also spoke to the Marines who gave me a lot of good info on what they do and how to be ready. The Marines said they have a job in pretty much anything military-related you can think of Air, Land, and Sea. They have the most people in jobs like infantry and motor transportation, but they also have many people in engineering positions and aviation positions. The Marines also have a somewhat recent cyber security/cyber warfare division for anyone interested in the field. For anyone interested in Marines or any military the best advice I got was to talk to a recruiter and just be physically and mentally prepared for such a job. 

Overall the College and Career Fair was a great experience. I really enjoyed getting to learn more about different colleges and career options. As a sophomore, I think it was a good idea to go. I believe it’s good to start early and be prepared for college. Hope to see you there next year!