Colleges flock to Hendricken for annual fair

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Sarah Kelly, assistant director of admissions at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey, has been doing college fairs for 17 years. She’ll do more than 100 of them a year in addition to individual visits to schools throughout the Northeast.

Seton Hall was one of more than 115 colleges and universities represented in what has earned the reputation of New England’s, and most likely the country’s, largest school college fair held Friday at Bishop Hendricken High School. More than 600 students – sophomore, juniors and seniors – attended the event held in the school’s gymnasiums. This was the school’s 54th fair that was started by James Montague and carried on for the past 38 years by Joseph Adamec, Hendricken Director of Development. This year Adamec stepped back to let Nancy Rocha address college representatives at a breakfast before seniors flooded McNally Gym to make the rounds of tables, asking questions and going away with handfuls of brochures.

Hendricken President Father Robert Marciano welcomed the college representatives, extolling the students, adding, “We love them most days.”

School Principal Mark R. DeCiccio and Rocha gave an overview of the Hendricken curriculum and the school’s achievements in academics, athletics, arts as well as community service.

“The main reason the boys have so much success is because they work at it,” said DeCiccio.

Kelly has an affection for Hendricken, and the relationship with Seton Hall would appear to be mutual.

In all the fairs Kelly has done at the school, she can’t remember a time when she had to open a door. A student was always there to do it for her. As a Catholic university, she said Seton shares the same values as Hendricken and is a natural fit as the next step in education. She estimated on average 20 Hendricken students apply to Seton and 15 are accepted for admission.

Kelly wasn’t alone in commenting on the manners of Hendricken students.

Danielle Charette, assistant director of undergraduate admissions at Springfield College, in Springfield, Mass. noted that college fairs can be stressful for students. They can be uncomfortable asking questions. The Hendricken students, she said, introduce themselves and shake hands. It’s a start.

Senior David Valenti, like many of his peers, navigated between the tables uncertain of what he might find.

“I’ve never heard of this place,” he confessed to Fatimah Jeudy of River University in Nashua, New Hampshire. It’s a comparatively small Catholic liberal arts school with about 1,000 students. Jeudy gave a brief overview. Valenti was impressed to learn the average class size was 15. He picked up a card to be sent information before moving on.

Money was on the minds of some students and college representatives were prepared with answers.

Kelly put the cost at Seton Hall at $56,000, noting that 98 percent of students receive assistance. She said assistance ranges from $20,000 to $25,000. Costs were lower at River, but assistance packages were similar to Seton.

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