On Feb. 14 and 15, classical schools from across America will descend upon Hillsdale College’s campus for the 11th annual job fair. The event, co-sponsored by Career Services and the Barney Charter School Initiative, is expected to attract 46 schools from 22 states and Washington D.C., promising to be the largest fair yet.
The event will take place Thursday in the Searle Center from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.. On Friday, job seekers have the opportunity to interview with schools they spoke with the day before. Many will be represented by Hillsdale College alums now working for their respective schools, giving current students common ground on which to build.
The fair is a crucial opportunity for students seeking careers in education. Senior Shelby Bargenquast attended the job fair for the first time during her sophomore year and again her junior year to get a feel for what it was like. Having completed her degree requirements a semester early and with her wedding on the horizon, the fair is more important than ever.
“There’s obviously a lot more on the line this year,” Bargenquast said. “I probably have a pretty unique situation because my fiancé just found out he got accepted to Kentucky University for grad school. There’s only one school coming from the entire state of Kentucky, so I’m planning on making a beeline to that one school.”
Seniors and soon-to-be-newlyweds Calvin Kinney and Emily Walker have been applying to numerous classical schools via the internet but are excited to interact with representatives in person.
“Talking to so many different schools will probably help us figure out some of what we do and don’t want in a school,” Walker said. “We’re both just starting the search process, and it’s hard to know what we’re looking for. I think it’ll be useful to talk with people and hear some of the options and opportunities across the country.”
Getting married this summer adds an additional layer of urgency and complexity to the job search, but Kinney said he isn’t worried about it.
“To me, it’s exciting,” he said. “I’m not stressed because I know God will provide a job wherever it is. We’re excited to teach and become part of a great community of people.”
While the fair is geared toward upperclassmen, Director of Career Services Joanna Wiseley urged freshmen and sophomores to attend as well.
“It’s a great opportunity for underclassmen to check out the world of education and see if that’s something they might be interested in,” she said.
Regardless of school year, Wiseley encouraged all students to come to the event prepared.
“Professional to business casual attire is a must,” Wiseley said. “For seniors, bring copies of your resume and do your research on the schools that will be attending so you can be informed and efficient.”
Most important, Wiseley said, is conveying to potential employers a passion for learning and sharing it with students.
“If you love to teach and want a job, be there,” she said. “These schools want Hillsdale grads. It’s a seller’s market.”