Currently, only 7% of adults in the neighborhood we serve have a college degree or more. As part of our ongoing efforts to change college graduation outcomes in the City of Paterson, the Paterson Youth Council (PYC)—whose work is facilitated by NJCDC—sponsored a college fair for Paterson high school students and their parents, with support from Paterson Public Schools.
Held at Paterson's International High School, nearly 100 students and their parents met with admissions representatives from thirteen colleges and universities, including William Paterson University, Ramapo College, Seton Hall University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Berkeley College, and Bloomfield College.
Students used the college fair to learn more about different colleges and universities by collecting brochures and informational materials, and more importantly, by meeting with admissions representatives face-to-face to ask questions on everything from applications to academics to campus life. This also provided an extraordinary opportunity for students to express first-hand their interest in applying to specific schools. Some students even applied to select colleges on-site.
College fairs are one of the many ways NJCDC works to make college a reality for Paterson youth. In 2016, we held the first college fair in Paterson in more than a decade and also brought Paterson high school students to The Eighteenth Annual Passaic County Regional College Fair (which had representatives from more than 240 colleges and universities).
Each and every year, our programs for high school students visit a variety of colleges; our students recently visited Howard University and are looking forward to touring Harvard University, MIT, and Yale University later this month. In addition, this winter Larry Blumenstyk from Learning Associates, an educational consulting firm, began presenting a 5-part seminar series on the college admissions process for highly motivated Paterson high school students.
NJCDC's CEO Bob Guarasci said, "By exposing students to various colleges and universities, the college admissions process, and opportunities for scholarships and financial aid, NJCDC works to make college a reality for Paterson youth and remind them of the importance of a college degree. The statistics are clear: the average salary for a college graduate is almost $20,000 more a year than the average salary for an individual who only obtained a high school degree."