Winthrop High School’s Annual College Fair: Ask Questions, Explore New Things, and Enhance Life After High School


Zoe Long, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Yesterday, October 13th, Winthrop High School held their annual College Fair. Fifty schools and many alternative programs from all around the country joined us to educate students a bit more about what they all have to offer. I had the pleasure of visiting the booths of Lesley University, Stonehill College, and The University of New Hampshire during my time at the fair. Each advisor was super friendly and able to answer any and all questions that I had! Searching for the place in which you are going to spend the next four years can be stressful! However, it can be helpful to ask questions and learn new things. All students should not be afraid to explore new schools and alternative paths that you may not have thought about before. Also, no one should hesitate to ask their teachers, older friends, and family members questions. This is a large decision, and not one that should be made hastily, so take your time! All of that stress, questioning, and nervousness is exactly why our entire student body is so grateful for the resource that Winthrop High School provides us with the College Fair. It is a great place to learn about different schools, programs, majors, paths, and more that one can go to after high school. At the end of the day, do what your heart tells you and what feels right. I had the opportunity to talk to Colleen Irvine, a teacher here at Winthrop High School, Casey Peterson, a high school student, Jenessa Wadkins, a college freshman and Winthrop High School graduate, and an advisor for The University of New Hampshire at the College Fair about this large decision, how they made/what their plans are, and any advice they may have for incoming college students. 

I first spoke with Miss Irvine, who is an English teacher at Winthrop High School. She attended The University of New Hampshire for her undergraduate degree and Lesley University for her masters degree. Ms. Irvine said she chose UNH because of the “campus, location, and size of the school”. She shared that it has a very lively sports program, so there were many games and activities to keep one occupied outside of class time. The “various clubs, organizations, and activities” were also a draw for Ms. Irvine in terms of UNH. She shared that she enjoyed “the vibe of the campus” and that is when she knew she loved it. In terms of Lesley University, Ms. Irvine was more attracted to their “academics and faculty” than other aspects. She shared that she earned a “great masters degree for aspiring teachers and the campus was very cool”. Personally, I am applying to both of these colleges and it was wonderful to hear such positive feedback about both schools from such a trusted adult. I also asked Ms. Irvine why students should attend the College Fair each year. She believes that “it exposes students to different opportunities even if they are not sure college is the right path for them”. Ms. Irvine explained that it is “always good to take advantage of things that will help you decide what you want to do” and exposes you to things “you might not already know”.  The College Fair for this school year has already passed, and I hope you all were there. Don’t fret if you couldn’t make it, because they are an annual thing at Winthrop High School. However, I suggest doing research of your own or asking trusted adults and/or older friends about the colleges they recommend. I lastly talked with Ms. Irvine about the advice she has for students currently on their college search. She shared that she believes people should “take a tour of the college” and that “you’ll know that you feel like you fit somewhere when you show up”. This is such lovely advice, and it was so lovely taking to Ms. Irvine. She has an open door for any other advice and questions anyone may have! 

I next talked to a fellow student at Winthrop High School, Casey Peterson. Casey is a senior this year and currently applying to colleges. I started our conversation by asking Casey why she chose to attend the college fair this school year. She explained that she “wanted to expand my horizons on the schools that were offered at the College Fair and give myself a better idea of what college is about”. Casey explained that the College Fair gives her “opportunities to talk to counselors from certain schools I am looking at”. She exclaims that she is “very grateful” that our school holds this annual College Fair and “that without this many people would know what college is about”. She goes on to say that “it is a real privilege”.  I then inquired with Casey about which colleges she is interested in currently and what major she looks to pursue. Casey is currently interested in Sacred Heart, Fairfield University, UMass Amherst, George Washington University, and more. She wishes to pursue law in college. As we all know, applying to colleges can be a stressful time for seniors. Casey and I talked about what is causing us the most stress at this time and she shared that “maintaining my grades during my senior year and feeling as if I haven’t done enough to prepare myself for college academically” are her biggest stressors at the moment. I wish my good friend Casey so much good luck and fortune!

Next, having the opportunity to talk to my close friend, Jenessa Wadkins, was so incredible. To hear about this stressful time from someone who is currently on the other end is always refreshing. Jenessa is currently a student at Northeastern University. She says that she “loves the fact that this college has a full campus despite being in the city” and that she “loves to co-op learning experiences” that Northeastern offers. This is one of the colleges on my list and hearing about the vibe and academics from a current student is so amazing and educational. When I asked her about advice she would have for current seniors she shared that she believes that, if one can, they should “apply everywhere”. She shared that “it can never hurt to apply to more schools”. Jenessa also shared that everyone should make sure “the campus feels right” and “you can see yourself going there”. She ended off her advice be saying that seniors “don’t have to stress out too much” because “everything will all work out in the end”. I lastly asked Jenessa about her college searching experience and she shared that she utilized our school’s College Fair during it, saying that it helped her “find programs for my major”.

At the College Fair, I had the amazing opportunity to talk to one of the college advisors. She was representing The University of New Hampshire. She was so lovely, kind, and willing to answer any of my questions. Searching for where you want to spend the next four years is very stressful, so no one should hesitate to ask questions and learn more. When I asked her the things she liked about UNH she shared that “the community aspect” of the school was a large selling point. She explained that “you get all the opportunities of a large school, but get the small New England college vibe as well, so everyone is supportive and always there to help”. She shared that she believes students should have an interest in UNH because “it offers a little bit of everything”. She explained that there “are numerous majors to choose from and lots of clubs allowing you to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people”. To end our conversation, I asked the question that plagues everyone’s mind: “What do colleges want?”, and she had a very insightful response. She shared that they “look at your transcript to see who you are as a student and where you have been”. She explained that they want to explore your academic path and journey through high school, and things such as GPA and SAT score don’t matter as much to them. 

It was so lovely learning more and talking about the college search process with these three lovely people. I wanted to thank Casey Peterson, Jenessa Wadkins, Ms. Irvine, and the lovely advisor for The University of New Hampshire for sharing their thoughts with me. As I mentioned before, college searching and applying is stressful and often overwhelming. However, asking questions, exploring new things, and getting yourself out there makes it a much easier process. Don’t be afraid to inquire and investigate. After all, it is your future.