Check out this novel idea.
A charter school in Dorchester is challenging its students to get into college and their primary catalyst for doing so in what they refer to as 'speed-dating'...college style. They invite about 30 colleges to come for a day and have all the graduating students who can and want to go onto college (a large portion doesn't want to go to college for various reasons, etc. etc....) set up five minute or so interviews with each of the colleges and chat back and forth, very informally, about the college's atmosphere, costs, academics, etc. What a great idea!
It's a lot better than the traditional way of shuffling packs of confused and overwhelmed seniors from table to table or inviting down some seniors, who can get fourth of fifth period off, to come and talk to representatives from a perspective college on a given day.
My ideal set-up would be a mix of the two where local area schools would come on selected, pre-scheduled days, where faculty would not teach any senior courses during the time period (and a lot of juniors could also go), and then a speed-dating round table once or twice throughout the year with representatives from schools far and wide.
For instance, here in MA, I would probably invite schools from Maine, Western CT, New York, and New Jersey to come for the day to interview the seniors. I'd also try to encourage other local area schools to participate also (especially if it were scheduled for a weekend day), that way the colleges would be more inclined to visit if they could get tons of students individually for a few minutes, and from several different schools.
Making it worth the while for both parties is critical to making the plans in general. Today's students need more information and far more encouragement to get out there, secure a spot in a (or several and then have their choosing) college, and begin their lives onto a career path that will inevitably escape this horrible downward spiral recession we're neck-deep in.