To assist local high school students and their families with the sometimes challenging search for the right college, the annual College Fair will be held on Wednesday, November 6 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, Exhibit Building, 3400 Calle Real, in Santa Barbara.

Free and open to the public, the college fair allows students to interact with over a record 95 admission representatives from a wide range of postsecondary institutions who can discuss course offerings, admission requirements, college life and other information pertinent to the college selection process. In addition, the fair will offer two workshops by local financial professionals that will cover strategies on securing scholarships, grants, loans, and federal and state aid for educational costs.

The popular event normally draws about 1,200 people. Sponsors include Santa Barbara City College (SBCC), University of California Santa Barbara, Westmont College, the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara and Cal-SOAP.

According to Michael Medel, SBCC Coordinator of Student Outreach and Orientation, the sheer size of the fair can be challenging for a student in keeping each college’s information straight. He offers five strategy tips:

1. Organize before you go. Go to the College Fair website at to see the listing of participating colleges and universities. Zero in on those in which you are especially interested. Make another list of secondary colleges to look into if there is free time. You may want to limit your list to ten or so since you will be limited on time at each table.

2. Prepare questions ahead of time. Review colleges’ websites and prepare questions you would like to ask each representative. Make an inventory of campus attributes that are important for you, such as average classroom size, available scholarships, campus housing etc. Also, ask questions that are not easily found on the colleges’ websites.

3. Print address labels to bring with you. Save time filling out interest cards and use pre-printed address labels with your name, address, email address, your high school, when you expect to start college and the major(s) in which are interested. Rather than writing out dozens of interest cards at each table you visit, you will simply peel and stick your information on the card.

4. Strategize with a map. When you arrive, pick up a map to help target your colleges so you don’t waste time backtracking. Bags will be available at the front entrance for all the brochures you’re going to be collecting. Having a family member with you can be a big help. For example, if your family member is concerned about financing your education, he or she can go sit in on the Scholarship Workshop offered at 6:15 p.m. and 7:15 p.m., while you continue visiting different colleges’ tables.

5. Review and file. Review each college’s material carefully. If there’s something you really like about the college, highlight it and put a sticky note on the page so you can find it later. Check out their website. Create a file for the colleges that you interested in. If you completed an interest card at the fair, you may start getting material from each college in the mail. Your personal college file will become your best tool for making a wise decision.

For an up-to-date list of participating universities and career technical schools for the Santa Barbara College Fair, go to:


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