College Fair: Schools from all across the nation represented in Kenai

About 70 schools from across the nation were represented at the second annual Kenai Peninsula College Fair Tuesday at the Kenai Shopping Center.

Students from all over the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District were able to talk face-to-face with representatives from colleges and universities from all over the country, an opportunity that students relished.

"It's sometimes more difficult for colleges to reach us," Daniel Ribbens, a Nikiski Middle/High School senior said. "So sometimes we aren't as educated on what colleges are out there -- this is a nice way for us to go and see what (they) are like."

Wendi Dutcher, one of the organizers, said the shopping center venue was a necessity due to the high number of school representatives. Last year was the first Kenai Peninsula College fair, which included 40-45 schools at Kenai Central High School. Dutcher said the fair was essential to students on the Peninsula, since visiting schools is not an easy task.

"A lot of our students can't afford to go out and visit the schools like if you lived in the Lower 48  where you're closer to a number of schools," Dutcher said.

Dutcher said she was able to work around the college fair taking place in Anchorage to be able to have some of the same schools represented on the Peninsula.

"They've already got the airfare, it's just a little hop down here," she said. "So I was trying to get those schools to also come down."

Homer High School brought students on two buses to Kenai.

"We're from a smaller community -- we don't get a chance to look at these kinds of things," Homer senior Tayler Downes said. "I needed to talk to a couple people from different schools -- this is my only opportunity to get to do this."

For many students, the fair was their first look at what is included with a college education.

"You can see the opportunities you have at different colleges and different courses you can take -- and expenses and stuff, that's always good to look at," Skyview junior Makinna Halverson said.

The cost of a college education is increasing each year, which may lead more students to receive their education in Alaska instead of going out of the state.

"I know it's a lot more cost-effective here," Ribbens said. "But I would like to go out of state."

The second part of the college fair on Tuesday was a financial aid information session held at Kenai Central High School.

Logan Tuttle can be reached at logan.tuttle@peninsulaclarion.com.

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