Local, international universities woo Jamaican students at fair
Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer
There wERE no dis-appointments for students and parents who turned out for the two-day American International School of Kingston (AISK)/Hillel Academy College Fair on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Representatives from 30 United States, Canadian and Jamaican universities participated in the fair.
Nicole McLaren Campbell, counsellor at the AISK, labelled the event a success, while stressing that affordability was a huge priority.
"One of the considerations for us was ensuring that the universities that came offered good financial aid to international students because we believe that it is very important. We don't want students to get excited and then realise they are unable to afford the fees," she said.
"Persons should not feel intimidated, because whatever financial background you may come from, there is something here for you. What is important for us is that you have the grades and you are able to excel inside and outside of the classroom. So even after the fair, persons can get in contact with us and make their dreams a reality," McLaren Campbell declared.
She added: "We want parents to work hard and save. Ensure that you guide your children from very early, and assist them in remaining focused because this [fair] is not just for show. The aim is for students to sign up and get the relevant information, and so far, I'm pleased."
Similarly, Donna Preston, college counsellor at Hillel Academy in St Andrew, said she was grateful for the turnout, noting that students would be able to get financial aid.
"As we speak, we have some representatives who will be doing presentations on the financial assistance that is available, because while we want students to sign up, we also want them to be able to pay their fees," Preston told The Gleaner on Wednesday.
"We are pleased with the turnout, we have students from most schools in the Corporate Area and also from out of town represented, and we are extremely grateful," she said.
Deneene Ricketts, international recruitment officer at Canada's University of Guelph, which was represented at the fair, noted that the university always looks forward to registering Caribbean students.
"We embrace the different cultures and that includes our Caribbean people. They always do well, and we had to be here," she declared.
"Our employment rate is about 98 per cent. It represents the number of students who find stable jobs after college. and that is highly important.
"We believe it is important that our students are able to match the job market, and so students can rest assured that they will be well-rounded," she continued.
Sydney Ebanks, a student at the Immaculate Conception High School, said she enjoyed the fair thoroughly.
"I'm really happy that I was able to be here. I really think this is a great opportunity to make the relevant connections and get as much information as possible. It's a huge opportunity," she said.
Other universities represented included the Switzerland-based Swiss Education Group, Bentley University from the United States, and Canada's University of Ontario.