College fairs are a great place to start your college search! So, what’s a college fair and what can you expect?
Think “science fair” for colleges. College fairs are events where colleges from around the country will gather to provide students with information. College representatives (usually admission staff or college alumni) are available at tables to answer questions and distribute brochures or handouts about their college. You might also be able to sign up to be on a college’s mailing/email list. College fairs typically happen at your school (or a school nearby), or sometimes at a hotel, community center, or convention center.
To make the most of your college fair experience, here are some general do’s and don’ts.
- Make a plan! Get a list of the colleges that will be at the event and decide which college tables you want to visit.
- Be presentable! You’ll likely be talking with the same college representatives that will read your future application. You want to make a good impression. This doesn’t require a 3-piece suit – but you may not want to come directly from soccer practice. Be prepared to shake hands, smile, and speak clearly.
- Visit a variety of schools! This is your chance to explore colleges of all shapes and sizes. Schools that you may not otherwise consider or visit may offer something surprising. Don’t limit yourself to only colleges that you have heard of or already know something about.
- Ask questions that you can find the answer to on the college website – like “Does your school offer XYZ major?”. Show the college representative that you’ve done your research by asking something about a specific about the college. Or ask the same insightful question (like “What kind of student thrives at your school” or “What three words best describe this college”) of every college rep to get a feel for what the college values or the “personality” of the college.
Ask you counselor about colleges fairs in your area and add an event to your calendar. Do your research in advance about the schools that will be represented. Reviewing the college information profiles on GuidedPath can help you decide which college representatives you want to speak with.