College fairs are a great way to learn more about colleges. The best thing about college fairs is that you have an actual person at each table who can answer your questions. Many students ask questions that have answers that are easily accessible online. However, the college fair is your opportunity to get answers you may not be able to find on their websites or brochures. Here are some questions to consider asking when attending a college fair:
- What makes your college unique? This will be the representative’s opportunity tell you what makes the college special. It also tells you what the college values. Representatives are not supposed to speak disparaging about other colleges, but as you listen to their answer, you may be able to pick up why they think their institution is better than a competitor.
- Please tell me about the __________ major. The representative will probably tell you what makes the program unique, opportunities within the major (internships, research, etc.), and what graduates are doing now. If they don’t tell you these things, you can ask.
- What if I’m not sure what I want to study? Many students do not know what they want to major in when they get to college, and that is okay. The representative will probably share how the college helps students discover their passions and when students need to declare their major.
- How many students return after the first year? The answer to this question will give you a glimpse into how satisfied current students are at the college. If the percentage is low, ask why students are leaving.
- How would you describe the student body? This will tell you what the college atmosphere might feel like if you are on campus. This question is especially important when deciding if the college should stay on your list or not. For example, if you are looking for a very lively campus and they tell you it is quiet, it might not be the place for you.
- What is the surrounding community like? The representative will probably tell you about the things to do around the campus, as well as how the college fits in with the city or town.
- Can you tell me about campus safety? By law, each university has to provide crime information to prospective students who ask. Many colleges will have the report available on their website. The representative might tell you specific statistics or they might tell you about campus safety features the college offers, such as emergency phones, campus shuttles, escorts, etc.
- Is housing guaranteed all four years? Some colleges can only guarantee housing for freshmen students, while other colleges can offer housing all four years.
- Are there requirements for freshmen? Some colleges have specific requirements for freshmen students. For example, freshmen may be required to live on campus or will not be allowed to have a car on campus. In addition, some colleges have freshmen reading students must do over the summer, or a freshman seminar class once school starts.
- What are you looking for in an applicant? The representative will probably tell you the requirements for admissions, as well as some things that might make your application stand out. They will probably also tell you average GPA and test scores of admitted students.
- How do you award scholarships and financial aid? You will probably you the requirements to apply for financial aid, as well as information about institutional scholarships and how to be eligible for scholarships. It will be important to ask about the types of aid available if you are concerned with cost. Some colleges award merit awards, while other colleges only provide need based financial aid.
The above questions are just some of the questions you can ask college representatives at college fairs. If there is something important to you, feel free to ask the representative. This can include information about a specific extracurricular activity, study abroad, fitness center on campus, etc. Ask the questions that are important to you. And, don’t forget to get the business card of the admission counselor because you can always refer back to them after the fair with your questions.