Jump Right Into College Fairs

Juniors, jump start your college search by attending a college fair.

Admission representatives from many schools gather at fairs and look forward to meeting prospective students and sharing what their schools have to offer. You’ll have the chance to get exposed to a large number of colleges and universities all in one place.

Start by researching fairs in your area. Check with your guidance office for a schedule of local fairs. Look online at the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) spring schedule. There are state and regional college fairs such as The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation . Look online to see if there is a state or regional college fair near you. Your school district or high school may also have their own fairs planned. Online college fairs are another way to meet admission reps by chatting online. Sites like CollegeFairsOnline.com and CollegeWeekLive.com offer these types of fairs. Check their websites for specific college fair dates.

Sign up for NACAC fairs online.  You’ll receive your own barcode. 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. Find out whether other fairs offer you the chance to also register in advance to avoid lines when you arrive.

Look into which schools will be participating at the fair you’re attending. Go through the list  of participants and 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 when you have more time.

Think about what type of school you’d like to attend. Two or four year, size, distance from home, environment, special programs and areas of study. Prepare for your meetings by having a few questions ready. Ask questions that are school specific and can’t easily be answered by looking at the website. Don’t forget to ask for business cards after your conversations.

If you have any additional questions, follow up with an email. If you felt you had a meaningful conversation with any particular rep, you may want to send a thank you note.

Organize all 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.



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