College fair gives students a look at school options
High school students in Douglas County visited with college representatives of schools from all over the West at a college fair at the Roseburg High School gymnasium Thursday. The high school, along with the Pacific Northwest Association for College Admissions Counseling, hosts the event.
Sixteen high schools from Douglas County and one from outside the county, Bandon High, sent students to the event, which is organized to give high school students an idea of what programs the colleges have available and options for funding their college education.
Organizer Jim Early, the career center director at Roseburg High School, said between 1,500 and 2,000 students attended, and 62 colleges had representatives at the event promoting their school. Included were large and small schools which came from as far away as the University of Alabama and included the small and largely unknown Dharma Realm Buddhist University in Ukiah, California, which has a student population of 50.
“I really see this as an opportunity for kids to visit with the college reps that they wouldn’t have otherwise have a chance to talk to, unless they traveled to visit the college in its location,” Early said. “They find out information about programs of study, financial aid, scholarships, housing and what it takes to get into the college.”
Justin Horton, a senior at South Umpqua High School, was looking for a college with good film classes for screenwriting and acting. He said Oregon and Portland State University both have film classes, but he’s leaving his options open.
“It allows me to see colleges both in and out of my area, to see the best options for furthering my career,” Horton said.
For Trace Gordon, a senior at North Douglas High, it was an opportunity to find out what schools have an interior design program.
“There were a few colleges that had programs and some others didn’t have, but had programs that were similar to it, so it was very valuable for me,” Gordon said.
Natalie Brown, a South Umpqua High School junior, was searching for a good nursing program.
“I’m looking into public health, but I don’t know where I want to go,” Brown said. “I’m looking at pediatric or RNA and so far I’ve found that Western Oregon and Pacific University, have programs.”
Madison Bauer, also a junior at South Umpqua High School, was also looking for a medical career, and she said it was a great opportunity to ask questions about the specific colleges.
“I want to find out about tuition, dorms, what campus life is like, those kinds of things,” Bauer said.
Randee Nicolay of the Office of Student Access and Completion, was visiting with students to let them know of some of the scholarships that are available for college through the OSAC. She said the student’s biggest concerns are usually the cost to go to college and whether their GPA is adequate.
“We’re aiming to encourage and motivate kids to get their school paid for, I guess for as little out of pocket as possible, and avoid student loans,” Nicolay said. “We have over 500 scholarships available. They’re not need-based. Any student can apply, every kid has an opportunity to receive funds, and grade-point average should not be a deterrent.”
Nicolay said ideally, students should start looking for scholarships long before their senior year, but right now is a critical time for seniors to apply for the grants.
Students can find out more about available scholarships on the OSAC website at www.oregonstudentaid.org.