How to Prepare for a College Fair
Attending a College Fair is a great way to do college research. It allows you to meet face-to-face with college representatives. Here are some tips to make the most of your experience:
Before the Fair:
- Ask yourself “Why do I want to go to college in the first place?” This may sound basic, but you’ll be surprised how difficult this question might be for you to answer in the beginning.
- Consider what you are looking for in a school—big/small, major, urban/rural, 2-year/4-year, religiously-affiliated, athletics, Greek life, special programs/opportunities, etc.
- Make a list of schools that are a “must” to connect with. You may not be able to get to every college, so know ahead of time what type of colleges you would be interested in attending.
- Register online ahead of time, if applicable. Registering will give you a bar code the college rep will be able to scan to get your contact information.
- Type your contact info, high school name, graduation year, major, etc. on sticky labels for contact cards.
- Talk to at least one college representative from a school you have never heard of.
- Prepare a list of interesting, specific questions for the college reps—this will generate interesting and specific conversations.
- Make a professional email address.
During the Fair:
- Bring a pen, paper, and tote bag for notes and materials.
- Grab a map (if available) to plan your route.
- Be patient—you may have to wait in line to talk to a college.
- Don’t let your parents do all of the talking.
- Take notes! Write down what you find most interesting about each college.
- Ask for business cards. Follow up with the rep if you have more questions or just want to thank them for their time.
- Be adventurous! Chat with colleges you may not have considered or never heard of.
- Attend an information session to learn more about the college search process, financial aid, and other topics.
- Drop by the Counselor table to meet one-on-one with a College Counselor.
After the Fair:
- Organize and sort through all of the material you have collected.
- Make notes about schools that stood out to you while it is fresh in your mind.
- Recycle materials from colleges you have ruled out.
- Review college websites, catalogs, and view books of the schools that interested you most. This will help you narrow your choices.
- Write down any additional questions you want to follow up about.
- Consider sending a thank you email to the college representative. This simple gesture can show admission officials you are serious about wanting to attend their college.
- Talk to your parents and counselor about what schools peaked your interest and why.
- Adjust your college list accordingly, if necessary.
- Start scheduling visits to your top schools.
- Read e-mails to see when colleges will be visiting your school or community.
What Can Parents Do:
- Encourage your students to research the schools ahead of time and truly evaluate what they want out of their college experience.
- Attend the information sessions on the college search process, financial aid, and other topics.
- Encourage your student to begin the exploration process EARLY. Be ready to discuss post high school options, including finances.
College fairs are a great resource when you are doing your college search. Plan ahead and get the most out of your experience. Enjoy!View the printable PDF of this page