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Our View: Shopping for a college




High-achieving students may be different in myriad ways, but one thing they have in common is keen sense of curiosity. 


It is that drive to know more, to understand better, to challenge orthodoxy that drives that student to go beyond what is expected. 


Monday, the Mississippi School for Math & Sciences held a college fair at the Trotter Center.  


MSMS has held the sort of event, which exposes its students to a wide range of colleges, for its students. This year, MSMS opened up that opportunity to all schools in Lowndes County, both public and private,. 


Fifty-seven institutions of higher education accepted the invitation to make their cases to the county's high school juniors and seniors. 


Obviously, there were some very familiar schools on hand -- Mississippi University for Women, Mississippi State University and East Mississippi Community College, along with other universities and colleges in the state and region. 


Bu there were also some schools you might not expect to see in this area. Carleton College sent a recruiter from Northfield, Minnesota, for example. Students also had an opportunity to learn a little about other schools that aren't familiar to them -- Dartmouth, an Ivy League school located in Hanover, New Hampshire, sent a rep, as did Lehigh (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania), Vassar (Poughkeepsie, New York), Wellesley College (Wellesley, Massachusetts) and Cal-Berkeley. 


There was also a table for Harvey Mudd University, a school only science nerds are likely to have ever heard of. It's a private residential liberal arts college of science, engineering and mathematics, located in Claremont, California, and fights it out with MIT and CalTech for academic superiority in the sciences. Only 13 percent of applicants are accepted each year and the average range of ACT scores is 32-35 for those who become students there. Since its founding in 1955, only seven students have ever managed a 4.0 grade-point average. Oh, and, annual tuition is about $54,000. 


Clearly, Harvey Mudd University was not for everyone who attended Monday college fair. In fact, it may turn out to be not for anyone who attended. 


But that's really not the point. 


What is relevant is that students are exposed to a wide ranges of options and the more choices available, the more likely it is that the curious student will find that perfect fit. For some, Monday's fair may turn out to be a play a huge role in their academic and professional careers. That's exciting. 


We are certainly fortunate to have quality schools right here at "home," but we also realize that it' s a big world out there with many, many opportunities. Even for those who choose to stay closer to home, being exposed to so many different types of possibilities affirms their choice. 


We applaud MSMS for making this available to all of our county schools.



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