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Hundreds of area students take part in college fair at Culver Academies

Tom Coyne

Culver Academies students at the College Fair at the Steinbrenner Recreational Center. (Photo by Andrew Crowell)


Several hundred students from area high schools attended a college fair hosted by Culver Academies with representatives from more than 60 institutions.

The students were able to meet with representatives from the University of Chicago, Vanderbilt University, the University of Notre Dame, Carnegie Mellon University, Miami University, Michigan State University and other schools. Representatives from schools as far away as Colorado State University, Clemson University, Providence College and the University of Richmond also met with students.

The U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy also sent representatives. Military recruiters also took part.

Kim Cullen, dean of academic and college advising at Culver Academies, said the fair offered a wide variety of choices.

“So many different kinds of institutions were here so our hope is that students are stepping out of their comfort zones and taking some risks and having conversations with folks they might not usually have conversations with,” she said.

Cullen said the idea behind inviting other area high schools was to give them access to some of the resources available to students at Culver Academies.

“It’s about being able to provide a service. Culver Academies carries a lot of weight. We have access to a lot of resources. A lot of the area schools do not. Our hope is that some of those students will see options they like or that some of those students who might not have considered college as an option will see it’s a real possibility for them,” she said.


Charlotte Hass '27 (left) and Kaily Jo Norris '26 talk with a representative of Vanderbilt University. (Photo by Andrew Crowell)


The fair, open to all Culver Academies students, was scheduled during Parents Weekend so parents also could attend.

“This is great. I ran into a classmate of mine just moments ago and we were saying this is so different than we attended in the ’80s,” said Maureen Kehoe ’87, whose daughters Erin Zhu ’24 and Brigid Zhu ’26 attend Culver.

She remembers going to the library to look through thick books with small text to get the basic facts about a college and then writing to get more information.

“This is amazing. I’m very pleased with the sheer number of schools and I’m also glad that they opened it up to the public schools. That is a smart thing to do, and a kind thing to do,” she said.

Culver Academies students said the fair was enlightening.

“Getting an in-person connection with the schools has been helpful,” said Victoria Herrera ’25, who talked with representatives from the Savannah College of Art and Design and Clemson.

Mario Gutierrez ’25 said he was pleased to see so many colleges at the fair.

“I think it’s nice to get on these college lists to get information on the general admission policies,” said Gutierrez, who plans to major in chemical engineering.

Ksenia Gainey ’25 said she’s interested in going into nursing or pre-med so she was asking about the different opportunities schools have, including whether they provide internships and asking about how up-to-date their facilities are.

“Because anything we know today can change tomorrow so it’s interesting to see how institutions will advance with that,” she said.

She said she was interested in Miami University and Clemson.

Maggie Cordes ’25, who is interested in aerospace engineering, said she is interested in going to Texas A&M, but at the fair she talked with representatives from the Air Force Academy, the Naval Academy and Vanderbilt University.

“I’m excited to learn about those,” she said.


Students from public high schools from the Culver area met with college representatives at the College Fair. (Photo by Sloan Losch)


Students from Culver Community High School, Rochester High School, Knox High School and Warsaw High School attended the fair in the morning and Culver Academies students attended in the afternoon.

“I think this is a great opportunity for our students,” said Stephanie Brown, a school counselor at Rochester High School, which had about 30 juniors at the fair.

“We’re at the point of the year where we’ve been having lots of conversations about what they want to do after high school. This is a great opportunity for them to meet people, talk to universities or military and open their eyes to the options available to them,” she said.

Students said they appreciated being able to see so many schools at one place.

“I wanted to come here and see all the opportunities and see if there was anything I hadn’t really thought about,” said Candace Pomp, a junior at Rochester High School. “I’m interested in becoming an English teacher so I found a lot of schools that could help me reach my goals.”

She said she was particularly interested in St. Mary’s College and Northern Michigan University.

“This is a great opportunity for students to see what options you have. I think it’s amazing,” said Gabriel Jackson, a junior at Culver Community High School, who is interested in musical programs and diesel mechanics.

Cullen said she also hopes the fair helps college admissions officers learn more about Culver Academies.

“We hope they’ll get a stronger sense of what our students are like and how they present themselves and help them understand a little bit more of what Culver has to offer,” Cullen said.



Will Kershner '25, Preston Jessen '25, Matas Piktuizis '25, and Jack Christiansen '25 talk with Marty Tucker, Hope College admission representative. (Photo by Andrew Crowell)


Representatives for the colleges said they were pleased to see so many students.

“This is the best college fair I’ve been to in my three years of being in college admissions,” said Makaela Lochmueller, assistant director of admissions at Wabash College. “It was very well run. The staff has been extremely friendly. The students have been engaged, polite and respectful. It’s all top-notch. We hope to be invited back next year.”

She also appreciated having the public school students at the fair because surrounding schools are so spread out it was convenient to have them attend the fair in Culver.

“It was very helpful,” she said.

Cullen said Culver Academies advisers have been encouraging students to get away from the standard list of schools students typically look at and see if there are schools that better fit their needs.

“We’ve been working with them to learn how to research, learning how to match a college’s mission statement to their own values, strengths and personal interests,” she said.

Earlier this year, groups of Culver Academies students took tours of various college campuses to give them the feel of different size schools.

“The idea was to help them identify what it is about a school that they like and what they don’t,” Cullen said. “The college fair is one more way to do that large scale.”


Two Culver Girls Academy students talk with a U.S. Naval Academy representative. (Photo by Andrew Crowell)

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