Thousands of high school students recently gathered at Nova Southeastern University to learn more about college opportunities around the country. Most of Florida’s public and private colleges and universities were represented. Outside state universities on hand included the University of Alabama and Harvard University. The event brought together about 160 universities and was hosted by the Broward County School District.  College-bound students were also able to learn about scholarship opportunities.

“We want young people to know how to navigate the college process and to begin planning early,” said Ralph Aiello, who led the event. “We want them to learn about financial aid. We also want high school students to know about industry certifications and training programs. There is a big demand for people who can repair air conditioning units. And there are many other trades that pay well.”

James Payne of the Broward School District said he encourages young people to make good decisions about their education and future careers. “There is a high demand for information technology, construction, healthcare, hospitality and culinary arts,” said Payne. “We are seeing students pursue careers in technology beginning in high school.”

Joseph Sousa of the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg said he was impressed by the educational level of the students he saw. “They were asking good questions and I could see they are concerned about their education,” he said.

Deborah Robinson of the University of Florida College of Pharmacy said there are good opportunities for young people who want to pursue careers in pharmacy. She was showing students the path to earn a doctorate degree in pharmacy.

Ashley Miller of the University of Alabama in Huntsville said she was impressed by the students she saw and enjoyed being a part of the event.

Casie Tate of the University of Alabama said she encouraged Florida residents to apply to the University and not be concerned about out of state costs. “We have a great university and we offer a lot of scholarships to out of state students,” she said.

Many families and young people visited representatives from various university and academic programs and worked to learn more about opportunities after high school.

There was even a booth from Harvard University, which attracted some attention. Norman Grover, who is active in the Harvard alumni community said that young people who have done well in school and achieved success in areas outside of academics may be accepted. “Sometimes Harvard will admit someone who has overcome adversity. Harvard wants students who have shown themselves to be good people,” he said.