College Conference

Update (June. 10, 2019): The 2020 College Conference dates have been decided: Feb. 5, Sammamish High School; Feb. 6, Bellevue High School
Update (Feb. 11, 2019): Videos of select 2019 College Conference sessions have been added. Scroll down to the session listings to view them.

The College Conference is a great opportunity for high school families to listen to professionals about the ins and outs of preparing for college. Our presenters come from colleges and businesses from across the country and are available to answer your questions. We are pleased to offer a wide range of sessions that are sure to fit your needs.

2020 Schedule

Feb. 5, 2020

5:45 P.M. – 8:30 P.M.

Sammamish High School
100 140th Ave. SE
Bellevue, WA 98005

Feb. 6, 2020

5:45 P.M. – 8:30 P.M.

Bellevue High School
10416 SE Wolverine Way
Bellevue, WA 98004

2019 Program

The evening begins with a keynote speech by Maria Furtado, Executive Director of Colleges That Change Lives. You may then attend three different sessions that interest you.

College Application Process 101 for Parents

  • Session: 1, 2, 3
  • Presenters: BSD Counselors

Naviance, the college search process, your role in the process, and the timelines that are critical to ease the stress of the college application season (October-January) will be discussed. Recommended for 10th and 11th grade families.

Public Universities in the State of Washington: Trends and Opportunities

  • Session: 1, 2, 3
  • Presenters: Carmen Garcia, Washington State University; Sylvie Shiosaki, University of Washington; Erin Waldschmidt, University of Washington; Brian Swanson, Western Washington University; DeeDee Orr, Evergreen College; Sidney Lim, Central Washington University; Juan Corona, Central Washington University; Garick Sherburn, UW Bothell; Malik Farr, UW Tacoma

Public universities in Washington offer a wide variety of programs. In this session you will learn about admissions practices, profiles of the average Freshman on campus this year and the unique characteristics of each institution.

Canadian Colleges: Application Process and Opportunities in Canada

  • Session: 1, 2, 3
  • Presenters: James P. Smith, Simon Fraser University; Meghan Thompson, University of Victoria; Laura Thompson, University of British Columbia

Universities in Canada offer a wide variety of programs. In this session you will learn about the application process, trends in admissions practices, new program offerings and some of the characteristics of the colleges presenting.

Fine and Performing Arts Colleges/Universities

  • Session: 1, 2, 3
  • Presenters: Sharon Starling, Cornish College of the Arts; Eloise M. Boyle, University of Washington; Tandy Versyp, New York Film Academy

Learn about the different types of arts programs offered in the U.S. & Canada. Understand the process for admissions, portfolios and auditions. Find out about the future outlook for careers in the arts. It’s all in this session!

Admission Process at Private Colleges/Universities

  • Session: 1, 2, 3
  • Presenters: Maria Furtado, Colleges That Change Lives; Andrea Frangi, George Washington University; Hikaru Yamaguchi, Gonzaga University; Miles Burdick, University of Puget Sound; Katie O’Brien, Seattle University; Patrick McCarthy, Seattle University; Kristen Quackenbush, Seattle Pacific University; Grace Nguyen, Pacific Lutheran University

Representatives from various selective colleges will provide an overview of how their admissions teams evaluate applications and will also take questions from students and families regarding the application review process. Recommended for 10th and 11th grade students and families.

Transfer, Tech and Two-year Programs

  • Session: 1, 2
  • Presenters: Gina Nakamura, Seattle Central Community College; Meisha Wangerin, LW Institute of Technology; Amanda Gadian, DigiPen; Gilbert Villalpando, Bellevue College

Are you interested in designing and constructing video games? Learn about Computer Science and Engineering programs at DigiPen. Starting your college career at a community or technical college can also be a good plan. Our community and technical colleges offer strong programs, several bachelor’s degrees and smooth transfers to universities. Learn about the new four-year bachelor’s degrees they now offer!

Putting Yourself on Paper: Writing the College Essay

  • Session: 1, 2, 3
  • Presenters: Ann Fillmore, Sammamish High School; Doug Calvert, Interlake High School

The college essay can be a critical part of the college application. Strategies to respond to essay prompts will be reviewed as well as ways to avoid mistakes and how to choose a topic that is appropriate for the essay. Recommended for 10th and 11th grade students.

College Entrance Exams: SAT & ACT – Why? When? Which? How Do I Prepare?

  • Session: 1, 2
  • Presenters: Lauren Gaylord, G2 College

Both the ACT and the SAT are used in the college admissions process. You will learn about their differences as well as which tests are required or recommended and strategies to prepare for these high-stakes exams.

Know Before You Go – Don’t Pay Full Price

  • Session: 1, 2, 3
  • Presenter: Peg Keough, Way to the Quad

Come to this workshop to learn about the nuts and bolts of financing college. We will talk about how the colleges assess your eligibility for aid, the aid application process, the sources of aid (including scholarships and grants) as well as how you figure out if you are eligible for need-based aid. Recommended for 9th, 10th and 11th grade parents.

Paying for College Without Going Broke

  • Session: 1, 2, 3
  • Presenter: Paula Bishop, Financial Aid for College Advisor

Typical questions that will be answered during this session include: How can we afford private colleges? How can we get scholarships? How does the financial aid system work? Do we qualify for financial aid? How do colleges determine aid? How do 529 plans and the GET program work? We haven’t saved enough, what do we do? Recommended for parents/guardians.

Financial Aid – How it Works and How to Qualify

  • Session: 1, 2, 3
  • Presenters: Jamie Chambers, Ameriprise Financial; David Aramaki, Ameriprise Financial

This session will include information about financial planning for college, the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), scholarships, and grants which can also be part of a financial aid package for qualifying students. Recommended for 9th, 10th and 11th grade students and families.

College Success for Students with Learning Differences – Special Needs Admissions

  • Session: 1
  • Presenters: Vanessa Lopez-Kopp, Newport High School; Amy Stay, Bellevue High School

If your student has a 504 Plan or an IEP then this session is a must. You will learn what support is available in college, the documentation you will need to provide, and examples of college services and programs available. Recommended for students in all grades who have special needs.

Finding the Right Fit

  • Session: 1, 2, 3
  • Presenter: Claire Nold-Glaser, College Planning Help

Strategies to find colleges that match a student’s profile and interests will be discussed. Defining student priorities and interests is an essential first step in finding colleges that “fit.”

Starting the College Search: Where to Begin

  • Session: 1, 2, 3
  • Presenter: Mike Willis, Mike Willis and Associates

Want to start the college search? Don’t know how? Attend this session and learn how to start your college search through networking, online search engines and programs, and college fairs.

Military Options in College Education: ROTC scholarships, Academy applications

  • Session: 1, 2
  • Presenter: Troy Niehaus, Varsity Student Institute

Learn about scholarship opportunities for college via ROTC or one of the prestigious Service Academies. Earn your college degree and be commissioned as an officer in the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, or Coast Guard. The information session is for high school students grades 9-11, who want to learn more about this college scholarship opportunity. The five Federal Services Academies include: US Air Force Academy; US Military Academy (West Point):  US Naval Academy; US Coast Guard Academy; US Merchant Marine Academy

Navigating the NCAA Eligibility Center – College for the Athlete

  • Session: 1, 2
  • Presenters: Scott Brayton, Varsity Student Institute

The NCAA process for student athletic eligibility will be covered. Advanced planning is essential. The speaker will also cover ACT and SAT test scores as they pertain to eligibility.

College Tips for Multilingual Students

  • Session: 1, 3
  • Presenters: Carlye Hodel, BSD; Alexey Kuznetsova, BSD; Bjorn Unneland, BSD

Multilingual students bring with them many strengths to school beside their language abilities. In this session you will learn about new program and testing offerings, advice on what to emphasize in your college essay, as well as tips for the college application process.

College Application Survival Tips

  • Session: 2
  • Presenters: A panel of BSD English Language Learner students and adults who have survived and conquered the college application process

In this session you will have the opportunity to learn from a panel of BSD ELL students and recent college graduates who have survived the college application process. If time allows, the panel may take audience questions.


Bellevue Schools Foundation Logo

The College Conference is made possible by donations from the Bellevue Schools Foundation.


Contact your school counselor or send us an email.