First Grad/Professional School Expo launches

By Abby Weingarten

For the first time this fall, New College will host a Graduate & Professional School Expo to help students explore their post-undergraduate options.

Held virtually from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thurs. Oct. 29 on Handshake, the free event will allow students to participate in group and/or one-on-one sessions with representatives from more than 25 participating schools. Considering 70 percent of Novo Collegians go on to pursue graduate or professional school within five years of graduation, the Center for Career Engagement and Opportunity (CEO) saw a niche that needed to be filled.

“We have not had a fair like this at New College in the past, and we have a very high number of students who are interested in pursuing graduate or professional school. We thought it would be good to give them an expo—a no-pressure environment to explore schools,” said Lisandra Jimenez, the assistant director of the CEO and the event coordinator. “This is a good way for students to be exposed to disciplines we don’t offer at New College. A lot of times, students pursue different disciplines after New College than they do in undergrad.”

Open to all enrolled New College students (and alumni, as well), the expo will encourage attendees to research a variety of graduate-level programs. No preparation is needed for the event (no resumes or cover letters necessary) but registration for specific question-and-answer sessions are required in advance. Students do not need to stay the entire time; they can simply attend the sessions offered by schools that interest them.

The CEO staff has created a growing directory to make the expo easy to navigate, listing each school by academic discipline (programs for natural sciences, social sciences, etc.) so that attendees can target which schools to zero in on before arriving at the fair. Two of the areas in which many New College students express interest for graduate studies are law and medicine, so schools with those programs will be heavily represented at the expo, Jimenez said.

“These schools that are participating are paying to attend this event because they want New College students to consider their programs,” said Dwayne Peterson, the director of the CEO.

Prior to the expo, students’ exploration of graduate programs was limited to online searching, or meeting individually with faculty advisers or CEO career coaches. Students can still meet with a career coach to discuss program options before and after the expo (and all year long) as well as work on graduate school applications, personal statements or test preparation. The expo offers an extra advantage—giving students valuable access to graduate school contacts in a centralized location at an allotted time, and removing much of the guesswork associated with searches.

“Students don’t always realize the opportunities that are out there for them. They could go to graduate school for anything they want: social work, education, library science,” Peterson said. “There’s not necessarily a connection between what one studies in undergrad and what they can study in graduate school. For example, you can get an MBA with an undergrad in biology.”

The virtual nature of this event is also incredibly beneficial, as it gives schools from all over the world the ability to engage with New College students (something institutions might not have the resources to do in an in-person setting).

“For us, this event should be delivered virtually, even if it can be done in-person. So many of our students want to go out of state [for graduate studies], and the schools they want to go to are competitive and don’t do as much in-person recruiting,” Peterson said. “Why would a huge university spend the money to come to our campus to recruit when they would end up with very few numbers (because our campus is so small)? But they can carve out a few hours to talk to students online. It makes it easy for everyone.”

As an added bonus, all expo registrants have the chance to be entered into a drawing.

“We have a Kaplan course scholarship we’re giving away. It’s for a test-prep course for entrance exams, and the winning student can choose from one out of five test-prep course options (the GRE, MCAT, DAT, OAT and PCAT),” Jimenez said. “Any student who registers for the expo and goes to at least one session with a school will be entered into a drawing to win this scholarship. It’s worth $2,000 to $3,000 and it’s a really great opportunity for students.”

Want to attend the expo? Here is how to participate:

All participants must register via Handshake here. Students will need an electronic device, laptop or smartphone to access Handshake through the myNCF portal or Handshake’s mobile app. Make sure to sign up for group and/or one-on-one sessions before the event. Learn how to sign up for sessions and view a guide to attending a virtual fair here.

Students and graduate schools will have access to video, audio and text-based chat during meetings, enabling the personal connection of in-person fairs in a virtual, accessible setting. Contact the CEO at ceo@ncf.edu or 941-487-5002 with questions.

Abby Weingarten is the editor/writer in the Office of Communications & Marketing.


Founded in Sarasota in 1960, New College of Florida is the state's only legislatively designated Honors College of Florida. New College prepares intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement by providing a highly individualized education that integrates academic rigor with career-building experiences. New College offers 45 undergraduate majors in liberal arts and sciences, a master’s degree program in data science, and certificates in technology, finance, and business skills.

Inquiries about this article can be made to 941-487-4157 or to email us.

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