Roger Marolt: Roger This | AspenTimes.com

Roger Marolt: Roger This

Roger Marolt
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Can you believe it’s that time of year again? Of course I’m speaking of what has become the biggest fall attraction in Aspen since leaves dying on the trees. The event is: Credibly Offered Level Of Readily Available Diversified Options if We Expect our Students To Eventually Run this Nation Spectacularly Like Optimistic People Emphasize, so Come On, Let’s Let Everyone Get Excited about Free Access to Intercollegiate Representatives! Don’t ask me how they came up with a clumsy name like that. I find it’s easier to just go by the acronym, COLORADOWESTERNSLOPECOLLEGEFAIR, or reduced even further, CWSCF.

Anyway, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Sunday, representatives from more than 200 colleges, universities, junior colleges and trade schools will set up at Aspen High School (AHS) to talk with students from 60 western Colorado high schools about their futures. It’s going to be huge, fun and full of indispensable information. Get ready!

It’s a uniquely relevant event with potentially huge impact on our kids. I love to tell the story about the local high school girl who met the representatives from Harvard University at the fair several years ago. She had her heart set on going there even though her grades and test scores were a hair below what an institution like that is used to seeing. Undaunted, the girl showed up dressed sharply and well-prepared. She peppered the representative with great questions, and her genuine interest in the university was obvious.

In that five-minute interview, that local girl showed the people who would help decide her academic future a face and an engaging, vibrant personality rather than the typical sheet of paper filled with facts and stats that they receive tens of thousands of every year, all of which look pretty much the same.

Well, four and a half years later on the morning this local girl was to receive her diploma from Harvard, a person from the admissions office came to her and handed her a sheet from a yellow legal pad. It was the handwritten notes that the admissions representative had scribbled down in their meeting on the hardwood floor of the AHS gym.

“You know,” the person from the admissions department said to her. “Your application was in the ‘to be shredded’ pile until Barry pulled out these notes he had taken in Aspen. They refreshed his memory, and he convinced us that you would be a good fit here. Congratulations on your graduation with honors!”

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As an interesting aside, that sheet of notes was laminated into a floor tile that became the cornerstone of Aspen High School college counselor Kathy Klug’s office. It has become tradition to this day at Aspen High School that seniors hop three times on it with their left foot before sending off applications to their “reach” schools. There has yet to be a rejection of an applicant who has followed this protocol!

OK, OK already. This didn’t really happen. But, I like to tell the story because I believe it could happen … except the bit about the mystical tile in Klug’s office. Everyone knows the story about the senior prank where all the floor tiles in Klug’s office were pulled up and rearranged one night. What those pesky students didn’t know was that the office floor was scheduled to be carpeted the next day. A few kids later did the three hops on the spot where everyone believed the tile to be, but the magic didn’t work. They’ve tried all different spots, but nobody has found that tile underneath the rug yet.

Anyway, the point is that the college fair is a good deal for high school students and their families. Students get to make an impression, and parents get to learn about strategies to pay for the opportunities those good impressions will lead to. There are numerous workshops to help guide families through all phases of the application process from freshman through senior year, and then on through your mortgage lender’s office. There is one for Latino students. There’s one for increasing your chances for getting into highly selective colleges. There is even one for potential collegiate athletes.

For those without a vested interest in finding, applying to and paying for the right college, I hope you will support this program if with nothing more than a positive word on its behalf or, if it strikes you, a cash contribution to the Aspen Education Foundation (AEF), which underwrites a big chunk of it.

Kids from all over western Colorado are coming to reap the benefits of this event that has absolutely exploded in popularity since its inception six years ago (parking is going to be a bear so take the shuttles from Buttermilk if you can), indicating just exactly what a necessary and valuable service is available right here on our striking school campus.

Our kids, our teachers, our school counselors and staffs, our parent volunteers, and especially Kathy Klug and her team put a lot of time into making this event a success. And that makes a great impression on college representatives, too!