By: Justin Voss


The funny thing about working at a school is that you are constantly learning, and you see first-hand how education never stops. It’s a beautiful thing really. Just last week I learned from Mrs. Leslie that I can’t make a lightbulb illuminate with just one wire (I’m still not quite sure why that is, but I trust her). A few weeks ago I was taught in Mrs. Raymond’s class that cheese puffs and shaving cream are great ways to learn about the American Civil War. I learned from Mr. Hand and Mr. Whitlock that the further into math you go, the fewer numbers you end up working with. As a college counselor, I have the chance to learn a lot about the thousands of educational opportunities that our students have after they leave Fairmont.

Two weeks ago I was invited to go visit Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. And the week before that Mr. Foy was out visiting Campbell University in North Carolina. As a counseling staff, we have visited over 150 colleges and universities in the past five years from large public research universities here in California to small private liberal arts colleges in Maine. Often the colleges sponsor our trips to see their campuses so that we, in turn, will recommend it to our students. You’d be surprised how well that actually works. When we step onto a campus we start to think of students who would love to be there because of an academic program or just the general setting.

It’s important to know what opportunities are out there for our students and what resources they will encounter were they to enroll. For example, at Northern Arizona University, students will find a deep support network within each college and residential environment. Additionally, they offer a vibrant honors college which has some really great classes that get students out into the surrounding environment. For a larger school, they made some great efforts to make it feel much smaller. For California residents they will pay a lower tuition rate because of the Western Undergraduate Exchange, and can still earn scholarships on top of that, drastically reducing the total tuition.

While Northern Arizona is great, it is the idea of just how many wonderful schools there are out there. As a counseling staff, we continue to go out and visit or meet with representatives when they come to Fairmont or Southern California. Things are constantly changing so it is helpful to get updates directly from the institutions. Plus, the travel can be fun.

And here is your Flagstaff tip: If you are flying out of the tiny Flagstaff airport, make sure you use the bathroom before you go past security as there is no bathroom past the security checkpoint.