Students from Smith-Cotton as well as several area Kaysinger Conference schools will be provided an opportunity Thursday to explore options for their future at the Central Regional College Fair hosted by Smith-Cotton.
The event will provide students the opportunity to speak with representatives from more than 35 community colleges, universities, tech and trade schools and several branches of the military.
Speakers will also be present to discuss student personal safety when they are away from home at college.
“State Fair (Community College) used to host this event,” S-C Principal Wade Norton said. “They are now focusing on providing information about career pathway workshops and were no longer going to host a college fair this year.
“We saw a gap in the area and so our counselors took this on as a task,” Norton added. “When they were discussing it they thought it would be nice to include students from surrounding communities so the students and their parents could have the opportunity to speak with the representatives in person.”
Smith-Cotton counselors Katie Ellis, Carmen Brock, Pam Crafton and Ashley Burris planned the event.
Representatives from SFCC will be on hand to present information on financial aid and the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
“There have been some changes because the deadline for FASFA is months earlier,” Brock said. “We’ve done a FASFA night for several years but with some of the changes we wanted to make sure to include it with the college fair.”
Both Brock and Ellis said students and their parents should bring their 2015 income tax returns with them so senior students could see if they are eligible for any federal student aid.
“Before the students start the process, both the students and their parents should create FASFA identification before attending,” Ellis said. “The following address, https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/fsaid, will help them through the process.
“The question of how much will college cost is one we think all parents have,” she added. “That doesn’t just include tuition but also things like books and fees and what the general cost of living away from home is.”
As the parent of a graduating senior this year, Norton agreed.
“Two of the biggest questions I think all parents have are for their child are, ‘Can we afford the cost of the school and does my son or daughter actually want to go there?’
“So much of applying for college has changed because there are so many online options and websites that can do a lot,” Norton added. “I still think parents want to talk to an actual person though and that’s why nights like this are helpful.”
Freshmen through seniors from S-C, Sacred Heart, La Monte, Green Ridge, Smithton, Stover and Tipton and home-school students are invited to attend the free event from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday in the S-C High School auxiliary gymnasium, 2010 Tiger Pride Blvd.
Representatives from SFCC will be available from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Harriet Wolfe Media Center to discuss the FASFA application process.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.