Friday, September 29, 2017


MPSEOC's College Fair in Missoula!
Montana Post-Secondary Educational Opportunities Council (MPSEOC or "mop-sock") is a non-profit organization representing over 25 higher education institutions in Montana. Every year MPSEOC hosts 24 College Fairs across Montana, reaching over 10,000 students.

Lauren Tobias, our MTCC VISTA Member serving a second service term with MPSEOC sees the fairs as “a great, and often times the only direct college exposure students in small towns across our fourth largest state in the nation get”.
High School Students test out the MPSEOC Photo Booth.
Serving as an MTCC VISTA with Poplar High School and Fort Peck Community College last year I had the opportunity to take our high school students to MPSEOC fairs in both Glasgow and Poplar, Montana. It still remains the only experience I have had with students asking for more time to take measurable steps, and asked detailed questions about their post-high school futures.

Amy Leary, MPSEOC Director, confirmed our Poplar students’ experiences are the main goal for the fairs: “Our hope is that we can help students see all their amazing post-secondary options as we open up windows to next steps for their success”.

Walking around the University of Montana's UC  Ballroom, where the fair was hosted by Emily Ferguson-Steger of UM, it was clear that excitement was in the air. Groups of students, decked out in homecoming week costumes, consistently approached tables and even formed lines to speak to representatives.

I was able to check in with a few of them, all first time fair goers, about their expectations and experience:

“This is my first fair. I am really impressed with all of the options, especially the amount of outside of schooling opportunities, like the Army.”
         – Keana, Senior at Frenchtown HighSchool

“Definitely 10 out of 10 for the scholarship table!”
 – Emma, Senior at Loyola High School

“We are exchange students so the college fair is a great opportunity to learn about post high school options in a United States context. Sports are way more important here!”
         – Pedro, Senior at Frenchtown High School

VISTA Lauren Tobias, UM 's Emily Ferguson-Steger, and MPSEOC's Amy Leary. 
Whitman College representative, Madison Hollenbeck also gave huge praise to Amy, Lauren, and the entire  MPSEOC team for “putting on some of the best fairs in the field” after stating that she has toured multiple fair circuits nationally. She concluded our short conversation saying, “MPSEOC fairs are fantastic! They are run so smoothly and I always have a clear and concise understanding of what to look forward to and expect”.

Many thanks to Amy, Lauren, and the MPSEOC team for working and serving tirelessly to make college and other post-high school options more accessible to Montana students!

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