Updated: Oct 13, 2019
College Fairs are an incredibly effective way of learning about and researching a wide variety of colleges. Students can talk to admission reps and learn about schools from across the country all in one place. However, if unprepared, students and families can get easily overwhelmed and miss out on the opportunity to learn about potential schools.
Here are five tips for how to prepare and get the most out of attending College Fairs.
1) Be prepared to take notes.
With so many schools in one place it is often easy to forget which facts and details are associated with each school. Often the schools will all blend together before a student even leaves the building. I recommend that students bring a small notebook where they can take notes on each school they visit.
2) Plan ahead and prepare a list of questions.
You can refer to Best Fit College Counseling's list of questions to ask college admissions representatives, and also come up with more of your own. I recommend that students ask the same questions of each admissions representative to get a direct comparison of schools. When thinking of questions to ask representatives, consider characteristics and considerations that are most important to you. For example, if you have no idea what you want to major in, ask about entering the school as undeclared. If you want to be in a college town, be sure to ask about the surrounding community and whether or not the college is a commuter school.
3) Take the brochures, flyers, and promotional materials from each school.
I recommend that students collect and save the promotional materials from each school and then sort through, and organize it all at home. At home students can create a binder and store the materials and notes from each school in a plastic sleeve. This will be really helpful to return to when developing a college apply list.
4) Ask the representatives for their business cards and if they offer assistance with your application.
Many out of state and private school representatives can offer students fee waivers, feedback on essays, and a review of their application before a final submission. Feedback on an application from a representative is invaluable and students should take advantage of these offers.
5) Talk to representatives from schools you have never heard of.
One of the most valuable aspects of a college fair is the ability to learn about lesser known schools that are often hidden gems. Keep in mind, that as Californians, our knowledge of schools out of state is often considerably lacking. If you are open to learning about out of state, small liberal arts, and/or private schools, you can find a wide array of schools to add to your apply list. Being open minded and talking to reps from ALL types of schools at a college fair is one of the best ways to identify which schools will be a best fit for you.