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'New-Look' University Information Fair Unlocks Key Insights

A new venue, format and structure will greet students and parents attending the 2019 University Information Fair at St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) on September 24, 2019.

“The impetus was to get a fresh look, fresh event, something that would be interactive, new and innovative,” says Frank Trentadue ’84, Director of Student Affairs at SMCS.

“The objective for the new format was based on feedback from our own department that we needed to create a forum for discussion that might lead to further discussion, as opposed to being the proprietors of all the information,” he says.

SMCS student writing an assignment

So after more than 15 years of conducting individual workshops within specific classrooms, the SMCS University Information Fair will move to a larger venue --- the school gymnasium.


“Parents will get a taste of everything from Ontario to the UK, and can further their inquiry and research should they choose,” says Lynette Fernandes, Guidance Assistant, who spearheads the planning and organization of this annual event at least six months in advance. 

Representatives from universities in Ontario, the rest of Canada, the United States, United Kingdom and Australia will be in attendance, along with a prominent keynote speaker discussing the ‘Keys to Succeeding in University’ among other features.

“They can expect to see over 30 university reps,” says Trentadue. “They can get personalized responses from each rep and find out specifically about programs, finances, scholarships, residence life and much more. Families can expect to become comfortable with the application process. And, they can expect to discover university options that they may not have thought about,” he says.

SMCS is a university preparatory school with a 100 per cent university acceptance rate.

Students from the 2019 graduating class were accepted into 32 universities in Canada, the US and abroad.


“We feel it is necessary as counsellors to give this information to the students and families,” says Trentadue, a teacher at SMCS since 1987, who became a guidance counsellor in 2006 and Director of Student Affairs in 2017.

“Counsellors reserve October to meet with Grade 12 students and families because November is the beginning of the application process,” he says, adding, “it is important to get this information out so that we can encourage further discussion within each counsellors office.”

In addition to Grade 12’s, the event is intended for Grade 11 students and even younger grades.

“The post-secondary search process should begin in Grade 11, because that is when the students have selected a course load for the first time that points directly towards a university program, and they explore during that year to see if that is where they want to end up,” says Trentadue.

“Grade 12’s are targeted as well because the application process is about to begin for them. Even though those are the targets, certainly Grade 9 and 10 families are welcome to come. And, with the growing number of U.S. applicants, I would encourage Grade 10 families to come for sure,” he says.

All four Guidance Counsellors who support students from Grades 9 to 12 will be on hand at the Fair to present information and answer questions.


According to Trentadue, one of the biggest challenges is ensuring the best fit. “We try to get students and families to understand that the school has to be a good fit for the student --- the program and the school. One of the more important talks at this event is ‘finding your best fit’. That’s critical,” he says.

Having organized and presided over 10 University Information Fairs at SMCS, and experiencing the application process as a parent herself, Ms. Fernandes offers this insight to students and parents embarking on this journey: “Research your program within your university, talk to more than your three choices --- there are so many great options within a program you may not know anything about --- know what subjects are required and don't close any doors if you can help it,” she says.

From Mr. Trentadue, some additional food for thought. “We hope that families take away the fact that it requires further conversation than just what you are getting that night. And we hope that they get a snapshot of relevant information that would cause them to research further.” 

He adds, “It might feel overwhelming at the start. It gets easier once you get going, and, definitely --- use your counsellor!”

The 2019 St. Michael’s College School University Information Fair takes place on Tuesday September 24th at 7pm in the SMCS gym.

Registration is required. to reserve your spot.