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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — This is what Corey Crisostomo, an eighth-grader at Seoul American Middle School, used to know about Duke University: it’s really, really expensive (about $40,000 a year).

But after researching the school through its admissions department and via the Internet, he was able to tell fellow Yongsan Garrison students a lot more about Duke: what the average SAT scores were for accepted students, what courses are required to apply, and even how the campus is laid out.

Crisostomo was among some two dozen middle and high school students putting on a college fair Thursday at Seoul American High School. All were part of the Advancement Via Individual Determination, or AVID, program found at Department of Defense Dependents Schools in the Pacific.

Each student picked a school to learn and present, and they set their sights high: Stanford, New York University, the University of Texas, Harvard and Princeton displays sat next to those from the University of South Carolina, the Art Institute of Chicago and Boston University, among others.

The students constructed three-paneled information boards, with everything from campus population information to sports teams. Brochures, application packets and Internet printouts also were available.

Other classes signed up to visit the displays, in the SAHS library, and questioned the AVID students about the schools.

“We couldn’t take them to colleges, so we’re bringing the colleges to them,” said Carol Monger, one of the AVID teachers.

DODDS schools historically have difficulty drawing representatives from all the universities and colleges they’d like to have. By having local students in essence become the recruiters, it broadens the number of schools other students can get information about, officials said.

The other point, another AVID tutor said, is to get students and parents thinking about college earlier than they normal would.

“They should have all their research done the year before they apply,” said Leah Zamor. “The students should start looking in their ninth-grade year, to see what kinds of grades certain schools expect and what classes should be taken. Middle school students should get started now.”

For some students, like Crisostomo, college still seems a long way off. Choosing a school to attend will likely be a bit different than choosing a school to present at the college fair.

“I picked it because it was the best possible thing left,” he said, about his decision to do his presentation on Duke. “I used to just know it’s expensive and hard to get in. Now I know a lot more.”

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