It’s college fair season! Attending a fair is like wandering through a pop-up shopping mall for universities and their degree programs. You can sample the schools who attend, talk with the admissions counselors, and get a taste of the education and experience that each school offers.
But just like shopping your favorite mall during the holidays, you need to prepare for the trip so you get the most out of it.
These tips will help you find, navigate, and talk with the admissions professionals you meet at these events.
Before the fair, think about the majors that interest you. If you don’t already have some majors in mind, consider taking a career or personality aptitude test to help you get some ideas.
Next, get a list of the schools sending representatives to the fair. With some possible majors in mind, do a bit of online research to see which schools offer programs that match your interest. Invest about 15 or 20 minutes each to explore their websites. Learn as much as you can about their academic programs, campus life, and admission processes.
If something sticks out or seems unusual, make a note of it so you can bring it up to the admissions counselors at the fair. It’s a great way to get personalized information about the school, plus your research shows the admissions counselors that you’re serious about college.
Ask specific questions
Many students attending college fairs feel overwhelmed at the prospect of speaking with universities and forget about the importance of asking valuable, intelligent questions.
Avoid general questions like, “What is your ___ program like?” or “How is life on campus?” Instead, ask things that focus on the details want to explore, such as “What are the requirements for your business program?” or “What are the most popular extracurricular activities?”
Admissions counselors might not be able to recite the exact requirements of every single program off the top of their heads or list every campus event, but they will probably have brochures or paperwork for several different majors or departments. Plus, they can also point you to the right people on campus to answer your questions.
Go beyond your high school
Newspapers and magazines in your community usually include listings of upcoming college fairs. The Internet offers plenty of resources for finding college fairs, thanks to sites like GoToCollegeFairs.com and the National Association for College Admission Counseling national college fairs list.
College fair tips will help you succeed
The ultimate goal of a college fair is for you to learn about and connect with schools you are interested in attending. If you research in advance, come prepared, and set yourself apart from other students, there’s a good chance that you’ll achieve this objective.
If you’re looking for more info about preparing for the college admissions process and choosing the best school for you, download The Ultimate College Decision Timeline checklist for a year-by-year guide.