Angely Mercado

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New York University’s Kimmel Center will be hosting the 2019 Latino College Expo and Leadership Summit this Saturday, March 16. Attendees will have the opportunity to attend panels, speak to other prospective students, and get advice from college graduates.

The expo was founded in 1990 and organizers work toward having a variety of resources under one roof for Latino students in NYC every year. Antonio Aponte, the founder of the Latino College Expo, grew up in the Lower East Side with a mother who didn’t speak English. He said he was able to attend college because a local organization helped him navigate the application process. He wanted to pay it forward to other students and give them and their parents access to resources in both English and Spanish.

“As a Latino myself… as a first generation student, I knew that parents in general played a big role,” Aponte said. “That was really the birth of the expo – seeing that parents needed to be more engaged in the process.”

Over 70 colleges and more than 20 community-based organizations that focus on educational services will be represented at this weekend’s expo. Representatives from several CUNY, SUNY, private, and even military schools will be there.

Students can learn more about searching for jobs and internships, basics on financial aid, and how to apply for scholarships. Some college and program representatives attending are bilingual and there will also be volunteers on standby to help parents and students. 

Latino College Expo in 2018.

And though the event focuses on Latino students, potential attendees from other cultural backgrounds are more than welcome to attend.

Parents and students will also have some guidance about where to look first at the “ask the counselor” tables where students and parents can receive individualized advice.

“You don’t have to walk into this big room with all these schools and feel lost… they can speak to someone that can guide them a little bit so they [students] can take advantage of that day,” Aponte said.

Students and parents can also sit in on panels and hear more from previous graduates. This year’s panels will focus on how to file a FAFSA form, finding grants, how to choose a major in college, navigating life after college, writing an essay for applications, and self-care tips for dealing with stress.

Aponte is also especially excited that Luis Ubiñas, a successful investor, businessman, and nonprofit advisor, who will be speaking at the expo.

Aponte wants the students to look up to Ubiñas as a guideline for what they could potentially achieve if they learn how to navigate higher education, networking, and focus on the schools they want to attend.

“People deserve to know what’s out there, they need to know that there are programs that want to accept them, programs and schools where they can thrive,” Aponte said.

Panel at the Latino College Expo in 2018.

The 2019 Latino College Expo and Leadership Summit will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday. RSVP here. It’s free to to attend and donations are welcome.  

All images courtesy of the Latino College Expo.

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