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Fridley Public Schools
A college representative speaks to a students at the college fair.

On October 27, Fridley High School hosted an in-school college fair, offering students a unique opportunity to explore their postsecondary options firsthand. Students gained valuable information about their potential future academic endeavors.

The college fair was organized by Fridley’s Get Ready coordinators, Matt Kiefer and Kezia Burrows, and the Minnesota Association of Counselors of Color (MnACC). Colleges and universities are members of MnACC, who work alongside high schools to host the in-school college fairs. Get Ready is a program administered by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. It helps students from low-income backgrounds, indigenous communities, and communities of color realize their aspirations through education and career advancement. Get Ready operates in middle and high schools across multiple districts in Minnesota.

A month prior to the fair, Kiefer and Burrows attended every English class to talk to students about the college fair and prepare students to have a successful college fair experience. “We spoke to students about which colleges and universities will be in attendance at the college fair and then helped students prepare questions to ask the college representatives,” Kiefer mentioned.

When the day of the college fair came, FHS students gathered in the high school gym and concession area where they were greeted by 50 colleges and universities. Students spent time traveling from table to table, chatting with various college admissions representatives to learn more about each school. 

Three students hold up the college brochures they got at the college fair.

“An in-school college fair is a perfect opportunity for all students to learn more about the multitude of college/university options they have, both inside and outside the state of Minnesota,” said Kiefer. “Having 50 different college representatives in attendance allowed students to learn more about these colleges and get their questions answered all in one space at one time.”

The last MnACC college fair at FHS took place during the 2021-2022 school year. This event has traditionally been open to all 9-12 grade students, aligning with FHS's strong belief that college and career readiness should be fostered from the very start of high school. Kiefer emphasized, "We really want 9th and 10th grade students to start thinking about their college and career plans as soon as they begin their journey at Fridley High School."

Leaving the college fair, students are equipped with more knowledge about the variety of postsecondary opportunities available to them. Kiefer noted that this knowledge creates an incredible amount of motivation for students to do well in their classes now so that these postsecondary options can become a reality once they graduate.

FHS and the Get Ready program will continue in hosting college/university, trade school, and military representatives throughout the school year during One Lunch in the cafeteria. Additionally, the Get Ready staff plays a vital role in organizing college and career advisory lessons, as well as coordinating opportunities for career speakers. Looking ahead, Fridley High School and the Get Ready program are in the process of planning a career fair slated for the second semester.