Get the Most Out of College Fairs
College Fair Prep
This is the season for college fairs. It can be overwhelming, and often times, families walk away with little value from these events. Here are some tips to help you glean the most you can from a college fair:
Do your homework in advance
Never walk into a fair and wander aimlessly. Review the list of colleges that will be present. Go online and visit the college websites in the geographic locations that interest you. Look at GPA and test score guidelines and make certain you fit their requirements. Plan to visit the information tables for 2-3 “stretch” schools, 2-3 reasonable schools, and 2-3 backups. You shouldn’t waste time at tables that are too far above or below your range or that do not have your desired major.
Prepare 3-5 questions for the Representatives
Ask about your intended major, internships, which clubs are most popular, study abroad opportunities, Greek life, financial aid or sports recruiting. Whatever pertains to your college interests should be the focus of your questions. Remember to pick up a course catalog and view book for your top school choices.
Collect business cards
Often, the person staffing the table will be the regional admissions person who will eventually read your application. Ask the rep for a business card in case you have any follow-up questions. This may also allow you to develop a relationship with the rep, who will then remember your name when decision time comes. Remember to stop by and say hello if the rep visits your school, or when you go on a campus tour.
Keep in mind that college fairs are a great way to introduce students and parents to colleges and energize you about opportunities. However, fairs do NOT replace a campus visit. When possible, touring the campus and attending an information session is always the best option.