Every year college admission professions head out on the road to meet prospective students. In addition to visiting schools, most counselors will also attend college fairs. Depending on where you live, there might be multiple college fairs to choose from in your area. College fairs can range from having a handful of colleges to hundreds of colleges. Some college fairs might be as close as your high school and others might require a little travel. Many college bound students and their parents wonder if attending a college fair is worth the time and effort. The short answer is yes! Below are four reasons why attending a college fairs is worth your time.
1. Discover college options
College fairs are not just for high school seniors. All high school students are encouraged to visit college fairs to learn more about college. For students who are at the beginning stages of the college search process, the college fair allows you to discover a lot of colleges in one room. There will be some colleges with names you know and there will be other colleges you have never heard of before. You can stop at the different colleges to pick up some information and ask questions. As you learn more about colleges, you can place colleges on your list, or discover the colleges that are not a good fit for you. You might just walk by a college fair you never heard of before, see a sign they have the major you are considering, and that college could become your first choice! Go into the college fair with an open mind and talk to colleges you have never heard of before because you may just find out they have everything you are looking for and more.
2. Learn more about colleges
Every college booth will be staffed by at least one person who knows a lot of information about the college. Many colleges will have admission professionals at the table, but you might also find faculty members, alumni, or parents of students. The people who are at the booths will be able to answer most, if not all, of the questions you have about the college. They will be able to answer questions about academics, extracurricular activities, housing, admission and financial aid . In addition, many of the people at the tables will be able to answer specific questions about your situation. Take the time to ask your questions because you might not get the opportunity to have one-on-one time with an expert on the college again.
3. Make an impression
A great impression can stay with the person at the booth long after the college fair. Introduce yourself, sign up for more information and ask your questions. Be respectful to the person at the table no matter what their role is at the college. Some individuals who staff college booths take notes about their interactions with the students and those notes may make it to your file. As the admission committee is making their decision on your college application in the future, the note about the great impression you made might tip the scales in your favor.
4. Free advice
Some college fairs also offer free workshops and information sessions. You might see workshops on building your college list, general financial aid information, and other college admission topics. The sessions will typically also have time for you to ask your questions. In addition to the workshops, admission professionals are great resources for college information. For example, you might be searching for a particular major but learn the college you are talking to does not offer the major. Many admission professions will point you in the direction of another college with the major. Because the admission professionals spend so much time on the road with other colleges, they get to know general information about other colleges.
College fairs have a lot of great advantages for students and parents. However, much of the college fair worth comes from the work you put in before and during the fair. Prior to the fair, make sure you learn about the colleges that will be in attendance and make a plan for the booths you will visit. Register prior to the fair to save time. And, prepare the questions you want answered prior to the fair so you don’t forget what you want to ask the representatives. During the fair, be patient because some colleges will be more popular than others. Lastly, be outgoing and reach out to the colleges you are interested in to ask your questions.
College fairs are worth the time! Check with your school today to see if there will be any college fairs in your area. Or, check out these college fair resources I have put together.