High schoolers check out college opportunities

LIHUE — The College Fair on Tuesday at Island School’s Wilcox Gymnasium was packed as nearly 700 students looked into higher education.

“I’m planning to talk to the Western Coast schools, because it’s closer to home,” said Leslie Acoba, an 11th-grader at Kauai High School. “There’s also a lot of great schools there.”

The free fair sponsored by Hawaii Association for College Admission Counseling attracted students from every part of the island. It included representatives from 80 different colleges. Schools from California, Oregon and Washington, along with University of Hawaii schools from Kauai, Hilo, Manoa and West Oahu, were there to explain courses, housing, tuition and the admissions process.

“So I’m mostly looking at schools in Washington and then of course UCLA and UNLV, the bigger schools I guess,” said Navaeh Cabebe-Yamamoto, a junior at Kauai High. “I’m basically planning on doing my college tourings pretty soon, and I want to make sure I know where to go.”

Some students eagerly filled out applications, while others looked for guidance in deciding future opportunities.

“I haven’t figured a direct college to go to, I’m just kinda looking around,” said Akira Williams, a junior at Kauai High. “Probably engineering schools for me or anything that has swimming in it. I’m a swimmer.”

College applicants were inundated with opportunities to major in every type of career from science and communication to health care and teacher education.

Many students researched programs offered by colleges to help them determine their course of study.

“Our program is a little more specific and specialized, but there’s a lot of interest,” said Carrisa Gusman, academic adviser at the School of Travel Industry Management for University of Hawaii Manoa. “I think it’s great the island of Kauai is promoting more of a college-going environment for students and encouraging students to look into pursuing degrees post high school.”

Resources, career counseling, financial aid opportunities and lists of programs for new college applicants were available.

“Since many students are not able to visit colleges in person, this is an especially important opportunity for them to learn about their options for after high school,” said Patti Pears, organizer.

One junior from Kauai High, Gweneth Abella, already has plans to attend the University of Nevada Las Vegas to major in business.

“A lot of people say that UNLV is a great school for business,” she said.

Darius Foster, a tenth grader at Kapaa High School, was still looking at different schools.

“I was thinking of going to Pacific Northwest College of Art or Cornish College of the Arts. I want to major in maybe design or interior designing,” he said.

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