5 Tips for College Fairs

If you have a high school junior at home, or even a sophomore, you’re likely thinking forward to college application season. Putting together a list of prospective colleges can take a significant amount of time and effort, but there are resources available to help. And college fairs are a good place to start. Located in various venues across the country, college fairs offer students and their families the opportunity to learn about a large number of colleges and universities all in one place. Each college in attendance sends an admissions representative to answer questions and chat with families, and brochures are available to provide admissions requirement, school demographics, and academic information.

Before heading to a college fair, read our list of tips. You’ll want to attend the event fully prepared to make the most of the opportunity.

1.     Check out the college list beforehand
Review the full list of schools that will be in attendance before you arrive, and make a note of the ones you definitely want to check out. Colleges often keep track of students who have stopped by their booth and spoken to an admissions representative, so make sure your student speaks up and provides his or her name and contact information whenever possible.

2.     Make a list of priorities
Have your son or daughter make a list of traits he or she is looking for in a college – a certain major, a specific type of setting, or other features such as study abroad opportunities or club sports. This will help narrow down the list of prospective schools and aid in conversations with college representatives.

3.     Head to the info booth first
Most fairs have an information booth near the entrance. Make that your first stop to pick up the layout map and any other available materials.

4.     Be organized
Bring an appropriate bag to carry all of the brochures you collect, and keep a pen and notepad handy to take notes as you learn about schools.

5.     Take advantage of information sessions
Many fairs offer info sessions and workshops on various topics, including college athletics, financial aid, and application tips. Check out the list beforehand and plan to make it to a session that interests you.

The National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC) will be hosting college fairs in the upcoming months in several locations, including Boston, Springfield, and Providence. Visit the NACAC website for the full list and location details. As well, the New England Association for College Admission Counseling (NEACAC) has several fairs planned throughout New England in May. Check out their full list on the NEACAC website.