Searching for post-secondary education overseas does not have to be an ordeal.

The Department of Defense Dependents Schools has a way to help with the process by gearing up for its annual season of college fairs.

Dozens of representatives from U.S. and European colleges, many of whom are alumni, will share their experiences to students and parents at fairs in England, Germany, Italy, Spain and Bahrain. Larry Zani, coordinator for the Oct. 23 Kaiserslautern College Night, said the human factor at such fairs is what makes them worthwhile.

“We won’t put any piece of paper out there unless there is a person there,” Zani said.

“An actual product [of a college or university] conveys a lot more meaningful information than plowing through guide books or going to Web sites,” said J.D. Hopkins, Vilseck High School guidance counselor.

Attending a college night is an important supplement for researching schools on the Web, especially for military dependents who may not get to see their campus of choice until the first day of classes.

“The human factor may be the theme that really drives why college nights exist,” Hopkins said. “Those kids can apply online and find out a ton of info, but there are 3,200 or so schools in the United States — and that’s a ton of schools to research — so the human factor getting into it is really helpful,” Hopkins added.

In addition to speaking with college representatives, many college nights will offer students and parents information on college admission processes, financial aid as well as information on SAT and ACT test preparation.

Military recruiters will also be available to provide information on tuition assistance and the Montgomery G.I. Bill.

“[College night] is also open to anyone in the community who’s thinking about college, and that includes a lot of the military who may be thinking about going to school,” Zani said. “It’s a good way for them to get some materials and start their process, too.”

The schedule ...

Oct. 3: Rota High School College Night, 2 p.m., Crystal Cafeteria, NAS Rota, Spain.

Oct. 4: London Central High School is taking students to the American School of London College Fair (sponsored by the Fulbright Commission), 10 a.m.

Oct. 6: AFNorth High School, Brussels High School and SHAPE High School are taking students to College Night, 6 p.m. at St. John’s International School; ¶ A.T. Mahan High School College Night, 7 p.m., A.T. Mahan High School Media Center, Iceland.

Oct. 14: Bahrain High School Senior Parent College Night, 6 p.m., Bahrain High School New Testing Center; Giessen High School, 1:30 p.m., Giessen High School Multi-Purpose Room, Giessen, Germany.

Oct. 22: Heidelberg High School College Night, 7 p.m., Heidelberg High School gym, Germany; Gen. H.H. Arnold High School (Wiesbaden) College Night, 5 p.m., Gen. H.H. Arnold High School gym, Wiesbaden, Germany.

Oct. 23: Kaiserslautern District (Kaiserslautern, Ramstein, Baumholder and Bitburg) 6 p.m., Kaiserslautern High School gym, Germany; Lajes High School College Night, 6 p.m., Lajes Family Support Center, the Azores.

Oct. 28: Hohenfels High School College Night, 6 p.m., Hohenfels High School Great Hall, Germany.

Oct. 29: Vilseck High School College Night, 6 p.m., Langenbruck Center in Vilseck, Germany; Sigonella Secondary School College Night, 4 p.m., Sigonella Secondary School Multi-Purpose Room, Sicily.

Oct. 30: Ansbach/Bamberg/Würzburg High Schools College Night, 6:30 p.m., Würzburg High School cafeteria, Germany.

Nov. 5: Alconbury/Lakenheath/Menwith Hill High Schools College Nights, 6 p.m., Lakenheath High School Auditorium, England.

Nov. 6: Aviano High School College Night, 10 a.m., Aviano High School Information Center, Italy.

Nov. 13: Vicenza High School College and Career Night, 5 p.m., Youth Pavilion (near Ederle Inn), Italy.

Nov. 18: Incirlik American High School College Night, 6 p.m., Incirlik American High School Media Center, Turkey.

March 31: Hanau High School College Night, 1:45 p.m., Hanau High School Media Center, Germany.

May 11: Patch High School College Night, time to be determined, Stuttgart, Germany.

Future: Mannheim High School College Night, time and date to be determined; Bad Aibling High School College Night, spring 2004, time and date to be determined.

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