BAKERSFIELD,CA --Thousands of parents and students attended the fourteenth annual College Night Monday at the Rabobank Convention Center.
California and out of state colleges were there to help prospective students navigate the application process.
Bakersfield College and Cal State Bakersfield had to compete with heavy hitters like USC and Notre Dame, universities that can afford to be liberal with their financial aid.
"They are actually really great about financial aid,” said Tracy Schieble a Notre Dame alumnus. “It's 100% need based financial aid. The more you need the more they give."
But big name colleges can't compete with CSUB and BC in one area, proximity to home.
"Possibly 80% of our incoming freshman class is literally from Kern County,” said Steven Watkin, the recruitment director for CSUB. So now we are the first choice for a lot of our freshman students.”
No matter if the college is far or near home parents and students still have to figure out how to pay for school.
"Apply to the school you want to see if you get in first then see what financial aid can come down the road later,” said Kirk Urata, a parent looking at schools with his teenage daughter. “You never know what scholarships can come about. You never know what benefactor might pop up at your door. You never know what rich uncle may pass away and give you some money.”
Bottom line, set goals but have a back up plan.