College Fairs

Visiting individual colleges when starting your college search can be time consuming and costly. Often when you visit colleges, certain staff members and professors may not be on hand to answer your specific questions. Luckily, there are college fairs. During a college fair several (sometimes even hundreds) of colleges gather in one location to showcase their course and residential offerings, as well as to answer questions high school students may have. Attending college fairs in your area will help streamline your college search, and allow you to make the most out of your time.

Where are all the college fairs?

If you are in high school, your school counselor will be able to tell you where the closest college fairs are held in your area are. Contact the closest convention center or auditorium and ask if they have any fairs coming up. There are many rotating college fairs that travel around the country including National College Fairs, National Christian College Fairs, and Big Apple College Fairs (for New York colleges). There are even virtual college fairs held on the Internet. Check out CollegeWeekLive for a free online college fair.

Being Prepared for College Fairs

Register Online – Many college fairs ask that you register ahead of time, so they are prepared for the number of students attending. Register online to reserve your spot and check out the website for any helpful tips regarding what you should expect, as well as materials you should bring.

View the Website – Visiting the college website allows you to check out the colleges that will be presenting at the college fair. Start a list of colleges you know you want to check out to make the most of your time. This way you can also rule out colleges you know you aren’t interested in.

Make Preliminary Decisions - What are you looking for in a college? Decide if you want to go to a four-year school, or a vocational college. If location is important to you, consider this before the college fair as well. That way, you can narrow down your search so you won’t be overwhelmed.

Prepare Questions – By preparing questions for specific colleges you can increase the amount of information you get from the college fair. Rather than collecting a bunch of pamphlets, engage with the representatives from each college to get a better picture of what they offer, as well as what they are looking for.

During the College Fair

Be Open – Even though you have your mind made up regarding the colleges you are interested in, it’s still important to be open to other possibilities. Venture off and look at a few colleges that may not have your criteria, just to be sure you’re making the best decision.

Gather Contacts – Don’t just collect brochures. Engage with college representatives, and learn their names. By getting email addresses you can ask specific questions later on. In doing this you will also build a contact base, which can help you if you are accepted to that college.

Go to Workshops – If the college fair offers workshops, go to them! Not only will you learn valuable information about the application process, financial aid, and other helpful pieces of the application process you may also meet contacts that can help you down the road.

Bring a Notebook – Bring along something to write with so you can write down any questions you think of, as well as any important information you find along the way.

The best way to get the most out of a college fair is to be prepared. Find the nearest college fair in your area and be prepared to make the best college decision for your life.

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