Students invited to the PROBE college fair

CONYERS - Students in the metro area and their parents are encouraged to go to the mall on Monday, but not to buy clothes or other accessories. Metro Atlanta educators want students to plan for their post-secondary education at the PROBE College Fair.

The fair will make its sixth visit to the Mall at Stonecrest from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday. The event is free and open to the public.

"Anybody can come," said Bill Smith, executive director for PROBE, the Georgia Articulation Committee Inc. "In my opinion after being in admissions for 35 years, the earlier the better. I would have eighth- and ninth-graders out there ... and parents (attending) are very important."

At the fair, students and their parents will have the opportunity to talk to representatives from more than 100 colleges and universities. Collegiate institutions will have tables, pamphlets and other informative literature set up on the lower level of the mall, which will be arranged in alphabetical order, and a list of attendants will be made available to guests.

"It's a great event because it draws people from all over the metro area," said Donald Bieler, marketing director for the mall, where the fair has visited since it started six years ago.

Bieler said normally 4,000 guests show up at the mall during the event.

Smith said even though economic hardships have cut travel budgets at many colleges and universities, he still expects more than 100, and possibly up to 120, colleges and universities at Monday's fair.

As of press time Tuesday, a complete list of expected institutions wasn't available, but Smith said many schools that showed up last year are expected again this year. Last year, several schools from the Southeast region were in attendance, including Emory University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt University and the University of Georgia.

A complete list is expected to be available online at www.gaprobe.org later this week.

Although more than 100 schools are expected to be present at the event, Smith said before the fair that each student should select five to six schools they want to talk to during the three-hour time span. Afterward, if they still have time left, they can visit with other schools.

"This way they won't waste time going from table to table," he said, adding that students also can come up with questions before the event to ask college representatives.

Also, students who run out of time or want more information from certain schools have the opportunity to visit other area PROBE College Fairs.

The fair is scheduled to visit Walton Academy, 1 Bulldog Drive in Monroe, from 9 to 11 a.m. Sept. 10, and Morgan County High School, located at 123 College Drive in Madison, from 2 to 3:15 p.m. Sept. 10. Alcovy High School, 14567 Ga. Highway 36 in Covington, will host the PROBE Fair, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 14.

Smith encouraged students and parents to "take advantage" of at least one area fair.

"Too many people miss this opportunity," he said. "To have more than 100 colleges and universities in one place is a rare opportunity."

More information about the fair and its scheduled visits are available at www.gaprobe.org.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.