GW hosts city-wide graduate school fair

GW hosted one of the East coast’s largest professional school fairs for Monday and Tuesday in the Smith Center, event organizers said.

A committee from the D.C. Consortium of Colleges and Universities organizes the event, which they expected to draw more than 2,000 people.

GW, American, Howard, Catholic, George Mason, Marymount, Gallaudet, Trinity and the University of Maryland are all part of the consortium.

Kristin Williams, executive director of GW Graduate Student Enrollment Management, helps organize what she said is one of the biggest professional school fairs on the East Coast. She said students should come because choosing a professional institution is a big commitment.

“You’re not buying a pair of shoes with a grad school,” she said. “Going into it you have to do some critical thinking about who you are.”

Williams estimated that about 60 percent of attendees were students currently enrolled in school, while the other 40 percent were people who are already working professionally. She said because the fair is at GW, many attendees were GW students.

Before the D.C. Consortium was implemented in 1977, each school used to have its own fair, which meant universities sending representatives to D.C. had to choose which one to attend. Williams said the joint fair has always been hosted at GW because of its central location.

“This was seen as something that needed to happen,” said Jeffrey Dagley, communications coordinator at the GW Career Center and the coordinator for the professional fair.

Dagley said the location next to the Foggy Bottom Metro station and near a business district is good for the fair because working professionals can more easily attend. He said the fair was held in the late afternoon to better accommodate non-students.

Dagley said attendance at the fair has been decreased in recent years.

“Our numbers have gone down with online access,” Dagley said, “but a lot of students still come for the one-on-one factor.”

Phillipa Carter, a representative from the University of Pittsburgh said she liked the fairs because they give her the chance to interact with students and address issues that might not be covered on a Web site.

“We spend a lot of time convincing potential students that Pittsburgh is a beautiful city with a lot going on,” she said.

Well-known schools like Harvard, Columbia and Duke as well as international universities attended. Despite the number and variety of the schools represented, some students were still disappointed.

Senior Jessica Rutstein said she did not have any trouble finding what she was looking for.

“I’m feeling very overwhelmed at the amount of information I have,” she said as she left the Smith Center.

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