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High school students have eye on future





Colton Aldridge knows where he wants to continue his education after graduating from Plainville High School next spring.

Others aren't so sure. Some have no idea.

That's the reason for the type of college/career planning conference for juniors and seniors Tuesday at Hays High School.

A total of 50 post-secondary institutions and the armed forces brought representatives to HHS to market their schools to students from five different area high schools.

These type of conferences are sponsored by the Kansas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. And they still are popular, even with all the information students now can glean off college websites.

"This is a circuit KACRAO goes to every year, and they've come to Hays High ever since I've been here," said Kathy Spicer, guidance counselor at HHS since the 1970s. "I'm just thrilled to see this many students here."

Aldridge, who plans to major in engineering at Kansas State University in Manhattan, obviously attended K-State's formal presentation Tuesday, with fellow schoolmate Tonya Widner in tow.

But Widner said she was going to listen to other presentations as well.

In addition to the Kansas Board of Regents universities, there also were representatives from numerous private schools, as well as two-year community colleges and technical schools. Also present were reps from cosmetology schools and even some out-of-state schools.

"We want the kids to know they have lots of options," Spicer said. "That's why we like them to come as juniors, too. ... They might see things at a table they weren't aware of."

That was the case for Traci Ross, a junior from Otis-Bison High School, who before Tuesday had her choice of colleges narrowed to Fort Hays State University and K-State.

"I like the idea of smaller classes," said Ross, one of 18 students in the junior class at Otis-Bison this year.

Ross, who hopes to major in marketing with a minor in graphic design, also likes the affordability of FHSU, which offers the lowest tuition rates of any of the state universities in Kansas.

Nonetheless, Ross still enjoyed checking out what other schools had to offers.

"I hadn't even thought about Wichita State," she said. "But seeing all the other schools here got me to thinking about other (options)."

Ditto for Clayton Schneider, a senior at Hays High.

Schneider said he is "pretty well set" on attending Northwest Kansas Technical College in Goodland to major in diesel mechanics because his boss at Radke Implement, Cole Dinges, is a graduate of that school.

But Schneider still enjoyed browsing other booths.

"That's what this is all about, (students) getting as much information as they can," Spicer said. "And the (college) reps are telling me they are getting good questions from students."