College fair shows high school kids the possibilities

From the University of Puget Sound fieldhouse, the future looked bright Monday night.

Wanna-be engineers, actors, musicians, hair stylists, physicians and other teens with college and careers on their minds swarmed the second annual College and Career Fair sponsored by Tacoma Public Schools. Organizers were expecting more than 2,500 students to attend the event, which drew college recruiters from around the Northwest and around the country, along with a few from Canada and Europe.

Many students cruised the aisles with parents, browsing among 175 information booths offering information on everything from well-known Northwest colleges to West Point. The fair also drew local employers, including the City of Tacoma and MultiCare Health System.

"We have talked college for years," said Corrine Moore, who was there with her son, Roger, a student at Truman Middle School. She believes it's never too early to start planning, even though her son's career ideas are still evolving. He's interested in engineering, but also wants to attend a school with a good soccer program. And he wouldn't say no to a music scholarship.

Stadium High School sophomore Bailey Ness dreams about becoming a writer and has already started on a romance novel that's set in her high school. (Don't worry. She's changed all the names.) She picked up information from both the University of Washington and Western Washington University, and she also learned about a college she hadn't considered before: Sweet Briar College in Virginia.

Fortunately for Bailey, her parents Dee Dee and Mike have been socking money away into Washington state's college savings plan, known as GET, or Guaranteed Education Tuition. It allows families to purchase credits toward college tuition at today's prices for college in the future. (Learn more at get.wa.gov) The fair also featured sessions on financial aid and the college application process.

Marissa Madison, a Stadium senior, isn't sure where she's headed after graduation. But she said she's interested in cosmetology or "artsy stuff" like design.

"That's what these things are for," she said of the fair's wide variety of offerings.

Debbie Cafazzo: 253-597-8635

debbie.cafazzo@thenewstribune.com

In Federal Way

The Federal Way School District hosts its annual "Life After High School" Career and College Fair on Wednesday, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Todd Beamer High School, 35999 16th Ave. S. in Federal Way.

Representatives from colleges, technical and specialty schools, trades, and the military will answer questions. Seminars will cover topics including scholarships, financial aid, college admissions, SAT/ACT, and personal essays.

For more information, call 253-945-2581.

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