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‘Dare to Dream’: College Outreach’s first in person event since 2019

Over 250 colleges will be attending the Colorado Western Slope College Fair Sunday Oct. 2.
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The Aspen School District will host the Colorado Western Slope College Fair on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This annual event is celebrating its 18th year with its first in-person fair since 2019.

“This is an energizing event. It is a great chance to get everyone back on campus,” College Outreach Director Kelly Doherty said.

The theme for this year’s College Fair is “Dare to Dream,” she said.



The Colorado Western Slope College Fair has been virtual the past two years. In 2019, the fair hosted over 3,000 students, 200 colleges and 30 workshops.

Students have the chance to meet representatives from over 250 colleges.
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According to Doherty, College Outreach defines “college” as any post-secondary education. This includes four-year universities, two-year colleges, vocational schools and technical schools.




“College is not a one size fits all,” said Aspen School District Superintendent Dave Baugh. “We want to cater our offerings to where (the student) is at.”

This year, the college fair is bringing in more than 250 colleges and will offer over 30 different workshops. Universities from across the United States and international attend.

“We offer the world to these kids” Doherty said. “We are here to serve and connect students with post-secondary options.”

In addition to their always popular workshops, she said they have new expanded workshops for student-athletes, technical education and learning support and traditional programs. They are also offering workshops in Spanish and will have translators at many of their popular workshops.

There are 30 workshops that students can choose to attend.
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The Western Slope of Colorado is considered to be all of the land west of the continental divide. There are 27 counties, 48 school districts and 85 high schools within the Western Slope.

Doherty and her team have worked to make the College Fair accessible to all students in the Western Slope. More than 50 students from the Southern Ute Reservation are driving eight hours each way and sleeping in the high school gym to attend.

Baugh said College Outreach creates a level playing field for students and eliminates road blocks to post-secondary success.

Of the students attending, 37% identify as “first generation,” meaning their parents did not complete or attend college, and 13% identify as “super generation,” meaning their parents did not complete high school.

“Every kid walks off campus excited about college,” Doherty said.

College Outreach is a volunteer based organization dedicated to serving the underrepresented students in the rural Western Slope of Colorado. Students interested in attending can register here.