Eastern Idaho saw a bigger than ever turnout this year to the Eastern Idaho College Fair and it is the students who seem to be coming more prepared.
For the past several years, Idaho has been ranked amongst the lowest in the nation for college completion.
According to the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, Idaho gets a ?C? grade for preparing their high school students for college and in the past 10 years, college enrollment has dropped by 9 percent.
But now seniors like Alex Vivar from Bonneville High School seem to be more prepared.
“I want to go into dentistry, be an orthodontist,? said Vivar, as he approached his first table at the fair.
Vivar seems to have a lot going for him, a senior with a great GPA, part of the state championship soccer team and college bound. But other things might appear to hold him back.
“My parents didn’t go to college,? said Vivar. ?They’re not from Mexico, but from Guatemala, Central America. I’m the oldest in my family and would be the first one going.”
Vivar is the oldest of four kids and said he realizes it is a big responsibility to live up to his parent’s dreams.
?My parents came here, I know they went through some rough times,? said Vivar, ?but they want me to have a bright future, want me to succeed, be better and show them that they raised a kid that is real good.”
And according to Vivar?s counselor, his parents have done more than just raise a good kid, but are doing what it takes to help their oldest prepare for college.
?They’ve been the parents who have been in the parent teacher conferences,? said Doug Knapp, Bonneville High School counselor. ?They have been in asking questions, making sure he was taking the right courses that would allow him to get into college. Parental support is really, really critical.?
Knapp says most parents are more involved than ever, especially when it comes to interest in scholarship opportunities that are readily available.
“Particularly this last year, it’s been a lot easier for students to find scholarships because the federal government poured a lot more money into state schools,? said Knapp, ?and that really opened the door for some kids who wouldn’t have been able to afford it.”
It is scholarships like these that Vivar said he hopes will help him reach his high goals.
“It’s interesting because in accounting you work with numbers, I like to work with numbers,? said Vivar, ?I like math. And for dentistry, I want to be an orthodontist. I think it’s just exciting.”
If parents and students missed the Eastern Idaho College Fair, Knapp said Idaho State University will also provide informational meetings about financial aid in January, as soon as the new forms come out.