September 24, 2020

CollegeFairBY GREG STAMPER

The hallways of Conestoga had some eager, yet unfamiliar faces touring around campus two weeks ago.

On Oct. 17 Conestoga College’s Doon campus played host to an Ontario College Fair which saw high school students from all over southwestern Ontario come to the college to meet with and talk to representatives from not only Conestoga, but from 24 other colleges in Ontario.

The recreation centre was home to a wide variety of booths featuring Conestoga’s program instructors and a select few students from each area of study, while the E-wing housed the booths from other schools.

“In my opinion our community benefits from having all the colleges here once a year and we benefit from being exposed to other communities,” said Paul Osborne, executive director of marketing, recruitment, corporate communications and athletics at Conestoga College.

“Let’s face it, people in Ottawa or Sault Ste. Marie likely won’t drive here for an open house but can get important questions answered on the spot from a Conestoga representative in their city.”

The college fair gives potential students a first-hand look into what is offered and can help students come to a decision about what program and school is the right choice for them. However, many students who attend the fair, such as Raul Boue from Our Lady of Lourdes High School in Guelph, already have their choice made and just come for the experience.

“I want to be a millwright because I did a co-op and I liked it. Conestoga has the best program in all of Ontario and I want to get into that.”

The choice to attend college over university continues to grow in popularity due to a number of factors, all of which play in the college system’s favour.

“(College offers) a wide range of program options, it is cost effective and employers are looking for college graduates because they are ready to work,” said Tiffany Good, marketing and event co-ordinator for OntarioColleges.ca.

From a student’s perspective, the choice to attend college over university is simpler.

“It is easier to get into college,” said Brooke Howley from Glendale High School in Tillsonburg.

As the college fair displayed, there are many different choices available to students. While that may be true, Vicki Noels-Cornish, liaison officer for Conestoga College, promotes Conestoga as the place to be.

“Our location is very key being smack dab in the middle of southwestern Ontario, with lots of industry (in the region) and approximately 120 programs (at the school); there is something for everyone,” she said.