College fairs attract students

College fairs attract students
College fairs across Nebraska, such as this one at Hastings, give high school students a chance to explore careers and colleges. (Photo by Andela Taylor / NCTA)
September 27th, 2021 | NCTA News

CURTIS, Neb. – College recruiters are modern-day circuit riders this month, often making the two-a-day trek around to Nebraska sites hosting college fairs.

The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, part of the University of Nebraska system, is one of more than 100 universities, two-year colleges, trade / specialty schools, and military services with recruiters at college fairs known as Educational Planning Programs.

While NCTA’s Recruiting Coordinators Andela Taylor and Rulon Taylor (not related) are out in the field, traveling from town to town in September and early October, NCTA Admissions Recruiter Gaylene Stinman is working the phones, email, and online application system back at the Curtis campus.

“We have an excellent team communicating in multiple and unique means with hundreds of high school students each week,” said Jennifer McConville, NCTA associate dean.

Aggie recruiters are the outreach team on the frontlines.

At campus, the Student Services team handles specifics on admissions requirements and on-line applications, campus housing and residence life, ADA and 504 programs, the financial aid process, and coordinates special events such as Discovery Days and campus tours.

Interactions at college fairs have been rewarding, said Andela Taylor.

“The timing couldn’t be more perfect following Husker Harvest Days where the opportunities for careers in agriculture were very evident,” she said. “We could give students a fresh perspective for careers, the educational pathway to them, and even potential salaries. Encouraging counselors and teachers, as well, to reinforce our message of affordability, hands-on, and student-focused education is a bonus.”   

Taylor follows up on the conversations and leads from college fairs, answering questions by email or making a personal phone call.

“With two children in college, I completely relate to questions from students and concerns by parents,” Taylor says. “I really enjoy hearing about the goals that teenagers have for their future and building a relationship to support those goals. The job opportunities are ripe for this generation, so colleges and industries need to think outside-the-box to build their pipeline of future employees.”

Discovery Days

Four times a year, NCTA hosts Discovery Days, which feature a full overview of the campus, academics, financial aid, and resources in the community. Fall sessions are Oct. 5 and Nov. 15.

Dates for Spring, 2022 are March 1 and April 11. Details are at:

Key to college affordability is financial aid through scholarships and grants. Families are wise to start the process early, in the junior year, if possible.

EducationQuest provides resources specifically targeting high school juniors and seniors at Apply2College.  (

Financing college

“Take advantage of resources through EducationQuest Foundation and start working on FAFSA, too, since other potential savings are based on that information,” advises McConville.

Financial assistance starts with families completing the Free Application for Federal Student

Aid. FAFSA enrollment for 2022-23 begins Friday, Oct. 1.

The University of Nebraska uses a common, online application for its campuses in Curtis, Kearney, Lincoln and Omaha. Nebraska residents can apply until Oct. 3 and have the $45 application fee waived through the NU4NE campaign. See the Blue Box at

Also, Nebraska applicants to NCTA or NU campuses will find savings with Nebraska Promise  ( Students from families with adjusted gross income of $60,000 or less can receive free tuition, if completing the FAFSA by May 1.

Meanwhile, look for NCTA and Andela Taylor at college fairs Sept. 27 to 30 at Fremont, Gretna, York, Columbus, Peru, Falls City and Beatrice, and Oct. 4-7 rotating to six high schools in Lincoln.


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