During the spring and fall of every year, there are numerous college fairs. The national fairs are often strongly represented with colleges from around the US, while the local and regional fairs tend to have more colleges from your area. The more prestigious colleges may have alumni representatives at your local and regional fairs as well. Either way, given the large number of colleges represented at these fairs, families can feel overwhelmed by where to start.
DAYS BEFORE THE COLLEGE FAIR
To get the most out of a college fair, teens should start before they even go. The three things to do beforehand would be:
1. Set a game plan of which college representatives you want to meet before attending the fair. Going without a plan can be a headache ready to happen!
2. Prepare questions (get our comparison checklist for sample questions) beforehand that you can ask college representatives at the fair. It’s OK to ask the same questions for each college you visit.
3. Print pre-printed labels with your contact information. This will save you time. If there’s a long line to talk to a representative, you can still provide your information and follow-up when you visit the campus in-person.
DURING THE FAIR
Now that you’ve prepared for the college fair, it’s time to attend . . . making sure that you’re dressed appropriately, getting there in plenty of time to find parking and visit with your top choice colleges.
4. Use the comparison checklist to keep track of each college visited. This will prove invaluable for campus visits and writing application essays.
5. Make sure you get a business card from the college representatives that you meet to email or call later.
6. Surprise yourself and visit with a college representative that’s not busy and not on your list. Some of these representatives travel from far distances to meet new students. This can be a great, low-risk way to learn something new . . .you may be pleasantly surprised by what you learn. More importantly, this new contact can inform your perspective on other campuses.
Which fairs will you visit? Safe travels and be sure to take our comparison checklist with you to make sure you make the most of participating in a college fair!