image jessica coleman teaching students about college application & exploration week

Story by Ainsley Hall

SPRING MILLS — Students at Spring Mills Middle School attended a College Fair on Tuesday as part of College Application and Exploration Week.

Through the fair, students became familiar with some of the terms schools use and learned about different universities in West Virginia.

Jessica Coleman, school counselor intern at Spring Mills Middle School, helped put the College Fair together. Coleman taught seventh-grade students about how high school credits work and helped them get more familiar with different terms they use in college. She explained the differences between student loans, grants and scholarships and gave students tips on how they can prepare for higher education right now.

Meanwhile, eighth-grade students learned more about different universities in the state, how to fill out a college application and how to navigate college websites.

“It helps create a dialogue,” Coleman said. “It’s about creating a familiarity with all the options available to them post-graduation, and it lets them know what they can do right now. There are great opportunities with Blue Ridge to help students become career-ready as soon as they finish high school. A lot of the students don’t even know they have these options.”

Coleman encourages her students to use high school to explore the different options available to them, ask questions and see different careers they can have in Berkeley County. She also hopes to have high school students come to talk about their own experiences and programs they got involved in to find what they want to do in the future.

“Berkeley County, in general, is changing and growing very quickly,” Coleman said. “There are a lot of options and careers that never existed when their parents were in school. With it growing so quickly, they might find something that interests them later.”

During the College Fair, Coleman also handed out prizes and merchandise from different schools in the state. Students learned about Shepherd University, Blue Ridge Community and Technical College, Marshal University, Bluefield State, Concord University, Glenville State University, West Virginia University, West Liberty University, Fairmont State University and West Virginia State University.

“I think it’s cool that they can find their own personality and college,” Coleman said. “Some kids might want to go to a big university with a lot of people. Another student might want to go to a smaller school or go to Blue Ridge, because they are more of a homebody. Each one can find a university that fits best with their personality.”