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Hillsdale County college fair for high school stu­dents. Facebook | Hillsdale County Com­munity Foun­dation.

Hillsdale County Com­munity Foun­dation is doing all it can to encourage high school kids to go to college.

The HCCF hosted over 70 col­leges from Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio at their 12th annual college fair in Hillsdale College’s Searle Center. Over 300 stu­dents from across Hillsdale County attended, and the HCCF also had a booth with infor­mation about the schol­ar­ships the orga­ni­zation offers.

“A lot of our stu­dents do not have the oppor­tunity to visit col­leges, so their knowledge is very limited,” said HCCF Pres­ident Sharon Bisher. “We are grateful for the support of the schools and Hillsdale College for this great com­munity event, where a lot of people come together for the benefit of our young people.”

According to Bisher, 60 percent of Hillsdale County high school seniors will attend college after grad­u­ation. Only 50 percent, however, stay after the first year, and only 15 percent will earn a cer­ti­fi­cation after four years.

“But those numbers are rising,” Bisher said. “We are really trying to focus on the trades and cer­ti­fi­ca­tions, as well as two- and four-year degrees.”

Bisher said Hillsdale County is in need of skilled trade workers.

Hillsdale high school seniors Ella Lewas and Hunter Sharp attended the college fair. Both expressed inter­ested in attending college. Lewas said she is looking for schools with ultra­sound tech­nician pro­grams, and Sharp is deciding between pre-law and pre-med­icine.

“This event helps me to narrow down which col­leges have what I’m looking for,” Sharp said. “And I can see what the schools have to offer with my own eyes instead of just a com­puter screen.”

Last year, the HCCF awarded over 100 dif­ferent schol­ar­ships worth $200,000 to the county’s youth. All Hillsdale County seniors are eli­gible to apply for schol­ar­ships from HCCF. The cri­teria for each schol­arship are out­lined by their respective donors, and the appli­ca­tions are due March 1.