Behind the Scenes of TCL’s Enrollment Fair

Published on June 19, 2024

‘Everyone has their own unique story”

It’s an unusually warm Saturday in June, but the heat hasn’t deterred a number of prospective students from attending an enrollment fair at the Technical College of the Lowcountry – especially those like Heylen Sopo who have arrived early.

“I’m really excited,” she said. The 18-year-old plans to study business administration this fall at TCL and maybe, someday, follow in her parents’ footsteps and start her own business.

Having graduated high school early, Sopo decided to take her time before deciding what she wanted to do next.

“I decided on TCL,” she said smiling – a decision she clearly feels good about, not only because TCL is close to her Bluffton home, but for the flexibility the college offers. She can keep her job working part-time at a local insurance company while she attends school this fall.

Second only to affordability, work-life balance was top of mind for many who attended Saturday’s event, said TCL’s Director of Recruitment, Admissions & Dual Enrollment Taylor Welborn.

“How to pay for college is still the biggest concern,” she said. “After that it’s, ‘How do I juggle everything? How do I juggle life and classes?’”

Fielding questions and putting concerns to rest are just par for the course for TCL’s enrollment team. On any given day, staff members may assist students with enrolling, registering, planning and making payments, but staff often face other challenges such as working out residency issues or learning the ins and outs of the new FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, released earlier this year.

That’s why TCL’s 18-person HUB team – comprised of Admissions, Financial Aid, Navigators and Military and Veterans Programs – are always looking for ways to make the application and enrollment process easier. Case in point: the team hosts two Saturday enrollment events per year as way of making things even more accessible and convenient – especially for working adults.

And while the admissions application is fully online, many like Sopo prefer in-person help. That’s why TCL’s open houses and enrollment fairs remain popular. In fact, Saturday’s enrollment fair had the highest attendance on record for a Saturday event, Taylor said.

One of the most exciting parts about these and similar events like Walk-in Wednesdays, is you never know who is going to walk through the door, she said.

“Everyone has their own unique story, and it’s their goals or dreams that have brought them in,” she said. “So being able to give students that dedicated time to hear their story and help them find a path to continue is the fun part.”

Dual Enrollment Coordinator Sara Cain, who was also on hand helping students on Saturday, said while Saturday enrollment fairs can be exciting, it’s actually the day-to-day interactions she finds most rewarding.

“Just sitting down with a student and their family and learning more about who they are and what they want to do – help them tailor what they study here to achieve their goals – is what I find most meaningful,” she said.

While Cain mostly works with high school students now, on Saturday she saw people “from all walks of life” – from high school students who were ready to start their associate degree program and then possibly transfer to a four-year college or university, to those who were only interested in career-based degrees or certificate programs designed to move them into a high paying job.

“We’re also seeing a lot of adult learners who are looking to start a new career path,” she said.

One such person was Andre Delbos of Okatie.

A self-described “older student,” Delbos came in Saturday to enroll in TCL’s accounting certificate program.

“I have reached an age where I need a change,” Delbos said. Having taken a class at TCL a number of years ago, the college was familiar to him. Plus, he found the staff “welcoming and very helpful” he said.

“So this is a practical opportunity for me to gain some knowledge and some skills in a related field where I’ve been for the last several decades,” he said.

Taylor Welborn, TCL’s Director of Recruitment, Admissions & Dual Enrollment, talks to a prospective student.








Did You Miss It?

If you missed Saturday’s Enrollment Fair at TCL, don’t fret! More Walk-in Wednesdays are coming up – June 26 and July 24.

You can also register or make an appointment online at or stop by the HUB Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Beaufort Mather Campus, 921 Ribaut Road, Beaufort, or New River Campus, 100 Community College Drive, in Bluffton. (Open virtually from 8 to 11:30 a.m. on Fridays.)

The deadline to enroll for fall classes is Aug. 8.

Behind the scenes at TCL’s Enrollment Fair: