Farmington — Providing information about higher education opportunities is the focus of a college fair at Shiprock High School.

Representatives from 19 state and regional colleges, including Tufts University, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and Santa Fe University of Art and Design, will share information and opportunities available at their schools during the fair.

The college fair is scheduled for Wednesday night.

The fair is designed to offer workshops about financial aid, filling out applications, writing college essays, developing interview skills and time management.

The workshops will be lead by Tisch Scholars, students who are enrolled in the Tisch Scholar program at Tuft University's Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service.

Sara Allred, administer for the Tisch Scholars program, said the students designed the workshops to expose high school students and their family members to college preparation.

"It's never too early to prepare for college," Allred said.

In 2012, 39 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native students who started college in 2005 as first-time, full time students at four year institutions graduated, according to the National Indian Education Association.

Gerald Bidtah, the coordinator for the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, or GEAR UP, at the Central Consolidated School District, said the college fair will promote college readiness and offer students the chance to interact with college representatives.

"Once they see that second level of college education ... it goes up and above the direction they want it to go," Bidtah said.

The college fair is a collaboration between GEAR UP, the Navajo Nation Office of Diné YOUTH and Tufts University.

GEAR UP is a federal grant program designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

The program is offered to seventh and eighth grade students at Tsé Bit'a'í Middle School and ninth to 12th grade students at Shiprock High School.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636. Follow her @nsmithdt on Twitter.