A new college fair season is beginning! College fairs are a great way to start your college search. They offer you the opportunity to get exposure to a broad range of colleges and universities all in one place. You will be able to meet admissions reps from a long list of schools at fairs in your own town or in a town nearby.
Here’s how to get the most out of college fairs:
- Search for college fairs in your area. Look online at the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) spring schedule. State education agencies such as the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation also maintain a college fair calendar. Your school district or high school may also have their own fairs planned. Check with your guidance counselor for a complete schedule.
- Sign up for fairs in advance and avoid the lines when you arrive. When you register for NACAC fairs online you’ll receive your own barcode to use at to the fair. You will be asked to enter your contact info, academic interests, high school and graduation year. By scanning your code, college reps will be able to read your information and eliminate the need for you to fill out individual information cards at each booth. They’ll also have your information if they want to reach out to you.
- Get ready for the fair. Find out which schools will be participating. Decide which reps you’d like to visit with and which events you would like to attend. Plan your day – pick up a map and note the start times of special events, then begin with the schools at the top of your list. While you’re at the fair keep an open mind as you walk through the aisles. Visit booths from a variety of schools and chat with their reps. Take brochures and course catalogs to review later.
- Prepare by thinking about what type of school is the right fit for you: 2 or 4 year, size, distance from home, environment, special programs and areas of study. Have a few questions ready to ask the reps at their booths. Ask questions that are school specific and can’t easily be answered by looking at the website. Ask for business cards after your conversations.
- Follow up with reps. Feel free to send an email with any additional questions you have. You may also want to send a thank you note if you felt you had a meaningful conversation with any particular rep.
- Organize all the material you collected at the fair. Sort through the brochures and business cards you collected and save the ones you’re interested in. Go online and look further into the schools you liked.