Grand Bahama News

GEA’s college fair reaching students on GB and Abaco

Hundreds of senior high school students across Grand Bahama and Abaco had the opportunity to speak with representatives from six tertiary institutions during Gemini Educators and Associates (GEA) Spring College Fair 2023 Showcase.

Chervita Campbell, guidance counselor at Sister Mary Patricia Russell Junior High School and GEA’s administrator, explained that this year’s college fair was unique.

“This year, we not only wanted to target students in Grand Bahama, but also students in Abaco,” Campbell said.

“I also gave the representatives a challenge, if we can get at least five students per school enrolled, it would put a dent in the numbers of students counselors want to see going directly from high school to college.”

“That’s what we are looking at and that’s our goal.”

The six colleges included four international schools: Millikin University, Monroe College, Oakwood University and Texas Southern University (TSU), and two local institutions: Terreve College and University of The Bahamas.

On March 9, students from grades 10, 11 and 12 on Grand Bahama attended the showcase at the Belinda Wilson Complex/Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) Hall.

On March 10, the three grade levels on Abaco got their chance.  

Campbell said GEA members wanted to get students thinking about furthering their education before reaching grade 12.

“We really wanted to target them from ninth grade, so that they could start thinking about college,” she said.

“To start preparing themselves in grade 10 to sit some of the American exams early, so when they get to grade 12, they should have selected and applied to the school they want to attend,” she said.

In addition to bringing colleges and students together, Campbell said GEA also assists students with choosing a major, completing scholarship applications, meeting required deadlines and meeting with parents to ensure the selected school fits the student and the parent.

“As we get back into the flow of things, after the storm and COVID, we want to give our students the best opportunities to further their education and prepare for the future,” Campbell said.

Eight Mile Rock High School 10th grader Jakayla Brown said all of the booths she visited shared information that was useful to her.

“Most offered housing, grants and scholarships, however, only two peaked, Monroe College and Oakwood University,” said the 15-year-old.

She noted that Monroe may be her choice as its acceptance rate was 79 percent for Bahamian students and the programs were highly recognized including her intended major.

“Pathology … I want to study diseases,” she said.

Monroe College representative Alexia Pratt told Grand Bahama News that there was great interest in programs offered at the school.

I am definitely seeing a lot of business majors – accounting, real estate, entrepreneurship,” he said.

“A lot of students are also interested in nursing or becoming midwives. Monroe College has great nursing and allied health and sciences programs,” Pratt said.

She added that there was also much interest in the hospitality program.

Pratt, a Bahamian, who has already completed her Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Business Management and Master’s of Business Administration in Finance at Monroe, said she believes her experience encouraged students to apply to the college.

Monroe offers partial academic scholarships, but in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Bahamian students can apply for full scholarship assistance.

Following the event, Campbell reported that several 12th graders who applied online at the college fair were accepted and conducted interviews onsite.

“The colleges that participated in the showcase are partners with the Ministry of Education’s Scholarship Unit under the Public School Scholars Program (PSSP); therefore, the students are also required to apply and meet the criteria for the program,” Campbell said.

“So, we are hopeful that they will be successful in securing scholarship assistance to further their education.”

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