NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – What to do after high school? It’s a tough question for many students. On Tuesday in Niles, over 3,000 of them had the chance to learn more about universities and other options.

Dozens of schools and hundreds of opportunities filled an empty space inside of the Eastwood Mall to show students what life can be like after high school.

The students participated in TED talks explaining how finances work, applying to college and networking with college admissions staff.

“As someone who doesn’t totally know what they want to do with their life or what college they want to go to, it was a great opportunity,” said Girard junior Ellie Maurice. “To get to talk to colleges, figure out what majors they have, if they have one I’m interested in and, basically, how to go about applying to said college and, basically, what they can just offer me.”

The event, hosted by Junior Achievement and the Trumbull County Educational Service Center, aims to bring the schools together rather than hosting separate college days for each.

“Back in our day, it was sending a letter, or sending an application or go visiting,” said Michael Hanshaw, superintendent at TCESC. “Here, you’ve got the opportunity to speak with them directly before you even make up your mind or decide what you’re going to do.”

Junior Achievement believes students at this age should learn as much as possible, keep researching and find many options out there to keep every door open.

“It’s important that they can have that one-on-one collaboration and communication with not only a college or university, but with a trade or a skill they may be interested in as well,” Hanshaw said.

“You always want to keep all your doors open, have as many options as possible,” said Girard senior Jacob Gallagher. “The more options you have, the more choices you have and you can make the best one for you.”

Hanshaw called the day incredibly beneficial for students.

“After you see all these kids here, and you see all the colleges, and universities and the different trades that have been able to be with us today, to be able to spend that time with our students was very worthwhile.”

Parents and students also had the opportunity to go back to the mall after the school day ended to learn more about financial aid and post-secondary opportunities.