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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Hundreds of students weigh their options at college fair

Chuck Hart of Western Washington University, left,  talks with Kathy Bays, far right, as Kristin Nelson, kneeling,  and J.B. Lange  of Garfield-Palouse High School check out university  programs at the college fair Thursday at the Spokane Convention Center. (CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON / The Spokesman-Review)
Chuck Hart of Western Washington University, left, talks with Kathy Bays, far right, as Kristin Nelson, kneeling, and J.B. Lange of Garfield-Palouse High School check out university programs at the college fair Thursday at the Spokane Convention Center. (CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON / The Spokesman-Review)

Hundreds of high school students considering their futures flooded the Spokane National College Fair at the Convention Center on Thursday.

Representatives from about 170 colleges, universities and vocational schools as well as military branches were there to entice potential candidates. Sponsored by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the event included workshops on financial aid, college applications and two- and four-year college transfers.

“I came here thinking I knew what college I wanted to go to, but then I saw so many other colleges I liked,” said Taylor Graves, a North Central High School senior.

Her classmate, Mercedes Calkins, was considering the best school for obtaining a communications degree. The senior’s first choice was Washington State University; her second, Eastern Washington University.

Students from throughout the region traveled by bus to the one-day event from Curlew, Brewster, Deer Park, Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston.

Erik Rios, 18, of Brewster High School, said he and his friends were disappointed by the variety of schools represented.

“We all want to go to art school, and they didn’t really have anything,” he said.

Rios wants to pursue a degree in film. His classmates were looking for educational opportunities in music and gaming.

Deer Park junior Carson Jessup, 17, described her approach to picking the right school: “The brochures show what types of people go to the schools. We were looking for people who were casual, laid-back.”

The University of Oregon in Eugene was among her choices.

The vocational schools saw interest, too, said Shanna Pa’u, lead admissions representative at Alpine College, which offers such programs as medical assistance and phlebotomy. They are one-year programs that offer job placement services at graduation and don’t require much debt, Pa’u said.

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