Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)
Gar-Field High School recently hosted the Mid-Atlantic Association of International Baccalaureate World Schools (IBMA) College Fair. The event garnered over 900 students from Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS), the District of Columbia, and surrounding states, including Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
Attendees met with representatives from over 110 colleges and universities as well as attended special topic sessions that focused on financial aid, the scholarship search process, and more.
“The IBMA College Fair is unique because it is designed for IB World Schools, yet open to the public,” said Brian Bassett, administrative coordinator for IB at Gar-Field High. “Universities and colleges are expected to send representatives that can speak to the unique interests, experiences, and coursework that IB students experience. They speak to their IB credit policies with some offering advanced standing and/or scholarships based on the students’ level of IB participation and performance in Diploma Program courses in high school.”
Gar-Field hosted this fair in previous years, but it was not planned by school affiliates. This year, however, Bassett took on the programming and complete logistics of the event. He emphasized how honorable it is to host the fair, saying that it means that “[IBMA] trusts that [Gar-Field] will get the work done and will represent the organization and its member schools with the quality of service and execution needed.”
Aside from Bassett, the team of event planners included student volunteers. Bassett offered juniors and seniors credit for Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) Projects, which are part of their IB Diploma requirements. Together, the team mapped out the event from setup to breakdown and coordinated with stakeholders.
“Personally, the event allowed me to grow as a leader, and [it]was an excellent opportunity to improve my problem-solving skills,” said Nazir Bousselmi, a senior at Gar-Field and one of the fair’s student logistics coordinators.
Just as it provided students with leadership opportunities, hosting the event also gave the PWCS community easy access to a resource that helps set college-seeking students up for success.
“We were impressed by the large turnout of colleges represented at the fair, ranging from schools in Virginia to international schools, [and]we appreciated that it was being held so close to us in Prince William County, said Ann Kim, a parent of an IB student at Unity Reed High School. “Overall, it was a great starting point in the college search process.”