Recession thins college recruiters

UAA: More students plan to stay close to home to save money

Posted: Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Several hundred students from Juneau's high schools got a little guidance toward life after graduation at an annual college and career fair held at Thunder Mountain High School Monday.

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Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

The recession has affected the fair, said Carin Smolin, career and technical education coordinator for the Juneau School District. She said the number of recruiters represented was down to 66 from between 75 and 80 last year.

Some recruiters cited economic factors as reasons for not coming, saying either they weren't recruiting out of state or that coming to Alaska was too expensive. Some also said applications were up, so they didn't have to do as much recruiting.

Some students' decisions are being influenced by the economy, as well.

"I'm hearing a lot more 'I want to stay in state,'" said Mike Smith, director of Student Information at University of Alaska Anchorage. "A lot of it's the economy. People are realizing it's more expensive, out of state tuition, and in our case all of our credits are transferable."

University of Alaska Southeast Admissions Representative Amanda Triplett said many people stopping by the UAS table asked about exchange programs and transferring out of the school.

Serena Drazkowski, a Juneau-Douglas High School senior helping out with the fair, said she has plans along those lines. She hopes to go to UAS for a year, then possibly transfer.

"(I want) to stay close to home for a year and kind of warm up until I get used to it ... not like move away and then screw it up. And then, you know, everyone parties too hard their first year, so I might as well stay here and go after that," she said.

Some options other than college were represented. Marine Pfc. Robert Partin said about seven people had signed up as interested at his recruiting table. Most were asking general questions about the different kinds of jobs available, if they'd be able to go to college, about options like band, what workouts are like and special benefits.

Air Force veteran and Veterans for Peace volunteer Paul Desloover was there offering a counterpoint to military recruiters. The organization and its project "Southeast Alaska Truth in Recruiting" aims to get students to consider what signing up for the military really means, he said.

"We're just here to give the kids an option and make them think about their options," he said. "Students really need to think about what they're doing and why they're doing it."

Lynn Le, a JDHS senior, said she wants something a little different from home after high school, so she spent much of her time at Oregon college tables.

"College, last year when I thought about it, it was cool. But this year when I'm thinking about it, I'm getting a little nervous," she said. "I think this is really great that we can do the college fair like this. This is very helpful. I don't know what I want to do yet."

• Contact reporter Mary Catharine Martin at 523-2276 or

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