Westtown School Specialty College Fair: A Win-Win for All Involved

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Westtown School, a Quaker college preparatory school in West Chester, PA, will host the 4th Independent School Students of Color College Fair on Saturday, October 22. The school expects 600 students and families from over 50 high schools, along with representatives from 130 leading colleges and universities. At Westtown, the fair's emphasis is consistent with the belief that diversity offers educational benefits not only for students of color but for all its students.

As our understanding of diversity becomes more nuanced, we recognize that what began as advocacy for one group has evolved to benefit the whole. Everyone gains as diversity infuses the school's culture.

Westtown School, a Quaker college preparatory school in West Chester, PA, will host the 4th Independent School Students of Color College Fair on Saturday, October 22. Originally conceived to benefit students of color from Friends schools throughout the country, this signature event, held every other year, has evolved to serve not only students and families of color from Friends schools, but also those from regional independent schools. Westtown expects about 600 students and families from over 50 high schools, along with representatives from 130 leading colleges and universities.

Westtown’s Students of Color College Fair is a joint endeavor by the school’s College Counseling Office and the Families for Multicultural Community, a Westtown parent organization. Developed in 2003 to serve students of color and first-generation college students who were unable to travel to visit colleges during their junior and senior years, the SOC Fair is similar to other specialty college fairs such as those with an emphasis on athletics or visual and performing arts, says Susan Tree, Director of College Counseling. And although the day celebrates multiculturalism, as the hosting institution, Westtown is able to invite all its students and families to participate.

The Westtown Fair offers visitors a number of valuable resources. For example, while many colleges and universities no longer make recruiting visits to high schools, a number of impressive schools send senior staff to Westtown, giving students the opportunity for face-to-face contact with the same college admission personnel who will ultimately act on their applications.

Workshops are scheduled on topics such as The College Admission Calendar, Campus Visits and Interviews, Standardized Testing, and Athletics and College Admission. New this year is a “What’s Special About…” series: What’s Special about Women’s Colleges, Non-Urban Colleges, Science and Technology Colleges and others.

The Students of Color College Fair exemplifies Westtown’s long-standing commitment to diversity for the value it brings to the education of all the school’s students. “As colleges and businesses seek to build their own multicultural communities, looking especially for young people who are prepared to assume leadership roles in a pluralistic society, Westtown students become increasingly attractive,” says Head of School John Baird, “standing out amid a large pool of candidates by virtue of having lived, studied and worked with others with different backgrounds and perspectives.”

“The same students who leave Westtown with global competencies are poised to become leaders not only in their colleges, but also in the diverse world of tomorrow. And as our understanding of the value of diversity becomes more nuanced, we recognize that what began as advocacy for one group has evolved to benefit the whole. In short, everyone gains as diversity infuses the school’s culture.”

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