College Conference

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.

Download the 2020 College Conference Poster (PDF)

2020 Schedule

Feb. 5, 2020

For students at Sammamish HS, Newport HS, and Big Picture School

5:45 P.M. – 8:30 P.M.

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

Feb. 6, 2020

For students at Bellevue HS, Interlake HS, and International School

5:45 P.M. – 8:30 P.M.

Bellevue High School
10416 SE Wolverine Way
Bellevue, WA 98004

2020 Program

Welcome: Dr. Ivan Duran, Superintendent, Bellevue School District

Host Principals:

  • Derrick Richardson, Principal, Sammamish High School
  • Vic Anderson, Principal, Bellevue High School

Keynote Speaker: Derrick Wheeler Smith, Zero Youth Detention Program Director, Department of Public Health

College Application Process 101 for Parents – All Sessions

Session 1: Spanish Translation provided


  • Big Picture, Newport High School and Sammamish High School Counselors – Feb. 5
  • Bellevue High School, Interlake High School and International School Counselors – Feb. 6

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 – All Sessions


  • Feb. 5: Eric Ferguson, Director of Instructional Technology, Bellevue School District
  • Feb. 6: Maria Friboes-Gee, Principal, Interlake High School


  • Megan Cooley, Admissions Counselor, University of Washington Tacoma
  • Carmen Garcia, Admissions Counselor, Washington State University
  • Jacob Jones-Poulton, Admissions Counselor, Western Washington University
  • Grace Nguyen , Admissions Counselor, Central Washington University
  • Alishia Ruff, Admissions Counselor, University of Washington Seattle (Wednesday Only)
  • Kelsey Mark, Admissions Counselor, University of Washington Seattle (Thursday Only)
  • Garick Sherburn, Admissions Counselor, UW Bothell

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 – All Sessions


  • Feb. 5: Tom Duenwald, Director, Instructional Technology, Bellevue School District
  • Feb. 6: John Harrison, Executive Director of Schools, Bellevue School District


  • Alex Riviere, Admissions Counselor, University of Victoria
  • Chris Payne, Admissions Counselor, 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 and Digi Pen Colleges/Universities – All Sessions


  • Feb. 5: Chris Lindbergh, Manager of Data, Research & Testing, Bellevue School District
  • Feb. 6: Tara Gray, Principal, International School


  • Eloise Boyle, Undergraduate Advisor, University of Washington Seattle School of Drama
  • Sharon Starling, Director of Admission, Cornish College of the Arts
  • Jeff Hill, Admissions Counselor, Digi Pen (Wednesday Only)
  • Alec Leibsohn, Admissions Counselor, Digi Pen (Thursday Only)

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. Are you interested in designing and constructing video games? Learn about Computer Science and Engineering programs at DigiPen. It’s all in this session!

Admission Process at Private Colleges/Universities – All Sessions


  • Feb. 5: Myra Arnone, Assistant Principal, Sammamish High School
  • Feb. 6: Scott Powers, Director of Teaching and Learning, Bellevue School District


  • Anna Aegerter, Admissions Counselor, University of Redlands
  • Mark Howard, Admissions Counselor, University of Puget Sound (Thursday Only)
  • Zucel Aguilar, Admissions Counselor, Gonzaga University
  • Rachel Reaves, Admission Counselor, Pacific Lutheran University
  • Patrick McCarthy, Admissions Counselor, Seattle 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 – Sessions 1 and 2


  • Feb. 5: Anecia Grigsby, Assistant Principal, Sammamish High School
  • Feb. 6: Bret Cochrun, Assistant Principal, Bellevue High School


  • Ithzel Moreno, Admissions Counselor, Bellevue College (Wednesday)
  • Rosa Ramirez, Admissions Counselor, Bellevue College (Thursday Only)
  • Gina Nakamura, Admissions Counselor, Seattle Community Colleges
  • Meisha Wangerin, Admissions Counselor, Lake Washington Institute of Technology

Starting your college career at a community or technical college can be a great plan. Our community and technical colleges offer strong programs, several 4-year degrees and transferring to a four-year university can be done smoothly. Learn about the new 4-year bachelor’s degrees they now offer!

Putting Yourself on Paper: Writing the College Essay – All Sessions


  • Feb. 5 – Ann Fillmore, English Teacher, Sammamish High School
  • Feb. 6 – Jennifer Weitman, English Teacher, Bellevue 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 and ACT – Why? When? Which? How Do I Prepare? – Sessions 1 and 2 only


  • Feb. 5, Ari Howard, Independent College Counselor, Paragon Test Prep
  • Feb. 6, Molly Metz, Independent College Counselor, Prep Northwest

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.

Pay Less For College! – Don’t Pay Full Price – All Sessions

Presenter: Peg Keogh, College Financial Planning Consultant, Way to the Quad

Peg will talk about how the colleges assess your eligibility for aid, the aid application process, the sources of aid (e.g., scholarships and grants) and how you figure out if you are eligible for need-based aid. Come learn how to create a comprehensive college funding plan to maximize financial aid, minimize taxes, and save for a comfortable retirement at the same time. Up until now you have probably saved FOR the cost of college. Now learn how to save ON the cost of college. Recommended for parents/guardians.

Paying for College Without Going Broke – All Sessions

Presenter: Paula Bishop, Certified Public Accountant, Financial Aid for College Advisor

Typical questions that will be addressed include: How to complete the FAFSA and CSS Profile to qualify for the most aid? How can we afford private colleges? How does the financial aid system work? Do we qualify for financial aid? How to find the colleges that give the most aid? How can we get scholarships? How do 529 plans work? We haven’t saved enough, what do we do?

Financial Aid Process – FAFSA/WASFA– All Sessions

Session 3: Spanish translation provided


  • Feb. 5: Kimberly Sheppard, Financial Aid Counselor, Seattle U Private Schools
  • Feb. 6: James Flowers, Associate Director – Financial Aid Office, University of Washington Seattle

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 – 1st session only


  • Feb. 5: Vanessa Lopez-Kopp, College and Career Specialist, Newport High School
  • Feb. 6: Amy Stay, Special Education Teacher, 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 – Sessions 1 and 2 only

Presenter: Claire Nold-Glaser, Independent College Counselor, 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 – All Sessions

Presenter: Mike Willis, Independent College Counselor, 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, on-line search engines and programs, and college fairs.

Military Options in College Education: ROTC scholarships, Academy applications – Sessions 1 and 2 only

Presenter: Troy Niehaus, Counselor, 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 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 and 2 only

Presenter: Scott Brayton, College Advisor/Mentor, 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.


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.

2020 College Conference Poster: Conferenencia De La Universidad, Chance of a Lifetime, NCAA Eligibility, Oh Canada?, Collegium Colloquium Selective Liberal Arts College, College Rocks!, Special Needs, Admissions, All things Financial Aid, FAFSA, WSFA, The College Application Process.