College Fairs can be a terrific opportunity for you as a potential student to pick up information on a variety of schools, introduce yourself to representatives and have your questions answered. But walking into a gymnasium filled with admissions officers, parents and high school students can also be overwhelming. With some preparation in advance, you will feel more confident and make the best use of your time.
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your college fair experience.
Do some research in advance
As you begin your college search, consider what type of college interests you, what majors you may pursue, what type of activities you wish to participate in and what type of financial aid you may require. Review the list of colleges attending the fair and choose a few schools you are most interested in to research. You can learn a lot about a school by visiting their college website. This will help you to know what questions to ask. Write down those questions and prioritize the most important ones to ask first.
Colleges registered to attend
Get organized and bring supplies
Bring a backpack, notebook and pen. You’ll need a backpack or bag to carry all of the information you will be gathering at the fair.
The notebook should have a list of your questions, and it is also helpful to jot down the answers each college representative gives you as well as any impressions you have after speaking with the representative. You will be speaking with a lot of people and by the time you get home, all of that information can run together and you may forget who told you what.
Most colleges will also ask you to fill out a card to receive more information. To save time, you may want to make labels in advance with your name, address, high school, graduation year and areas of interest. This will give you more time to talk with representatives and get your questions answered.
Have a plan
While it may be tempting to just go from table to table signing up for information, it may be more productive to visit the schools you are most interested in first so you don’t get sidetracked. You will be getting plenty of mail, so don’t sign up for information from schools you know don’t interest you. However, after you’ve hit your high interest schools, don’t be afraid to explore schools you are unfamiliar with. You just might discover your perfect fit!
Speak up and dress for success
Like in an interview, this is your opportunity to get the questions answered that will help you make a good decision about your future. Be assertive and interact with the college representative. Students should also look nice, dress professionally or in your school uniform and cleanly shaven as if you were meeting the director of admissions for the college. Avoid questions that could easily be answered by visiting the college website and instead ask questions about the college culture, whether they admit students by major , how easy it is to change majors, and about financial aid opportunities.
If you do not attend one of the high schools the college fair is visiting, you and a parent may still be able to attend. For details, contact Donna Payner, college fair coordinator, at [email protected]