One of the most popular majors at UCA in Conway is occupational therapy.
The Arkansas National Guard pays students to go to school, through the G-I bill.
Salem and Viola High School students and parents learned a lot about higher education options on Tuesday, Oct. 23, when 23 colleges and universities, and four branches of the military came to them for a College Fair Night.
"A college fair is a great way to get information because they are all right here in one place," Salem Counselor Susanne Jones said.
Jones, who came to Salem this year after 27 years with the Highland School District, put together many college fairs at Highland over the years. "I think they are really valuable for students and parents, and decided to try it here at Salem."
More than 100 people showed up for the fair, which began with each college or military representative giving a short description of their institution, its entrance requirements and scholarship opportunities. Then, each representative went to a table in the gymnasium where they could talk to students and parents and hand out information about their school.
"I think it's great," said Salem Senior Alicia Speaight, who recently toured the UCA campus. "I like it that we can talk to all the different ones (colleges), and see what's out there."
"I know what I want to study and am ready to pick a school. Money is the issue," Salem Senior Sheldon Doty said. "Having all these schools here gives me a better idea of each school, and I can find out about how much they cost. I like hearing that, at UACCB, you don't have to have a top ACT score to apply for a scholarship."
Jones invited students and parents from Viola, ICC and Mammoth Spring to participate in the fair, some students from Viola attended, but attendance from the other schools was less then expected because they had basketball games that night.
"Since we're a small school, we have a hard time getting colleges to come visit us," Viola Counselor Pam May said. "We have had a real good turnout by teaming up. Having a "fair," with so many schools is really helpful to students and parents. I hope it grows as time goes on."
One thing students learned is, colleges and universities compete with each other for students, and, with some research, they can find the school that is best for them, financially and academically.
The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and Arkansas State University at Jonesboro both sent representatives, and four U of A satellite campus and three ASU affiliates did too.
"We offer the lowest tuition of any University of Arkansas Campus," the representative of U of A Monticello said.
"I'm not going anywhere," Salem Senior Mackenzie McCord insisted. She meant she intends to study nursing at a college in the area. While she favors Ozarka College at Melbourne, the fair gave her a chance to check out ASU Mountain Home and UACCB to hear what they have to offer.
"I had Miss Jones when I went to Highland," Mackenzie's father, Noble McCord said. "I know she cares about the kids, and I think it's great what she did here with the fair."
"We have received good feedback from students and parents who attended the fair," Jones said. "Some of the college representatives said they were pleased with the turnout and response, and will put it on their calendars for next year. Next year, I want to try to encourage juniors to attend, as well as seniors. You can't have too many at an event like this."