Inside Northside’s Annual Joint College Fair
by Noah Liedtke
The time has come for the roughly 300 members of Northside’s junior class to start planning for college. In collaboration with Von Steuben and Disney II High Schools, Northside hosted a joint spring college fair on Wednesday, April 18, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Representatives from over 140 colleges and universities were available to speak with students in the cafeteria, gymnasium, and second floor atrium. Representatives hailed from all different types of schools: community colleges, state schools, Ivy League schools, Big Ten schools, and more.
This college fair was also a StriveScan fair, which means that students were able to register online on StriveScan’s website to receive a unique QR code containing their information. College representatives could then scan them to eliminate the need to fill out a card for every school that a student talked to. While not every school participated, the vast majority did, which streamlined the process.
Because there were over 140 schools attending, I was not able to speak with all representatives. However, I tried to speak with a few different types of colleges in order to learn more about them.
The first school I spoke with was the University of Notre Dame, located in South Bend, Indiana. This is a popular choice for many Chicago students, but also students in all 50 states and 74 different countries. The acceptance rate for the university is 18.8%, and over half of admitted students choose to enroll. The school has a 98% retention rate, with the most popular majors being business, science, liberal arts, social science, and engineering. However, the university offers over 65 majors across five schools, with 90% of classes having under 50 students. The University of Notre Dame is a Catholic university, but students need not be Catholic to apply or feel at home on campus. Although 160 masses are celebrated weekly, the representative said that the biggest impact religion has on the school is the emphasis on service learning: 85% of undergraduates are active in service learning. If one chooses to apply to Notre Dame, that student can apply via the Common Application or the Coalition Application.
I also spoke with a representative from Brown University, located in Providence, Rhode Island. The biggest draw of this school, besides being an Ivy League school, is its open curriculum, which has no core requirements outside of the concentration they choose. Brown has over 80 undergraduate concentrations, and students can also design their own concentrations. Brown has 6,580 undergraduates, and 43% of those students receive financial aid. The average financial aid package for students covers around $44,334 of the $67,439 cost per year. If students choose to apply, they can apply through the Common Application in the fall.
A common misunderstanding about the University of Southern California is that it is a public UC school. However, USC is actually a private research school located in Los Angeles. The school has roughly 19,000 undergraduates in over 150 majors and minors, with an average class size of 26 students. There is an acceptance rate of 15.9% (9,030 were accepted out of 56,650 applicants). USC is need blind, and 70% of its financial aid offers do not include loans. Students may apply through the Common Application, with an additional writing supplement.
Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) also attended the fair. WashU has an acceptance rate of 16.2%, with admitted students having an average SAT score of 1510. Of the 8,000 students attending the selective private school, 90% come from out of state, and 8% of those are international students. WashU offers more than 90 fields of study and over 1,500 courses. Their social science building has also been recently renovated. There are over 350 campus organizations, and over 100 study abroad programs available. In addition, two-thirds of students participate in community service efforts. Applicants for the class of 2023 can apply via the Common App or Coalition App.
The last university I spoke with at the fair was Georgetown University, located in Washington D.C. This school is famous for its social science and political science programs, and may not be the best fit for potential STEM majors. The school is Jesuit, which impacts the school’s emphasis on service and orientation toward public life. With an acceptance rate of 16.4%, the school is home to 6,400 undergraduates across four schools. The most unique of these schools is the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, which has intensive majors in international economics, history, politics, and more. Georgetown also has a college of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Business, and Nursing. Unlike other schools, Georgetown does not accept the Common or Coalition Applications, and has its own unique application.
While I could not reach out to every school in attendance, I chose to speak with representatives from schools that I had heard of, but did not know much about. With over 140 colleges to choose from, students with all different interests and passions were bound to find a school that they were interested in.