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College Fairs

Putting together your list of prospective schools for college admission? College fairs can help with exploring college options. Usually 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. Right now, in-person fairs are on hold, but NACAC is holding college fairs virtually. Check out the list here. Many of our tips below are still relevant when exploring schools and connecting with admissions representatives remotely.

  1. Determine your priorities. Before you go, make a list of traits you are 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.
  2. 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 so you can prepare a list of relevant questions.
  3. Head to the information 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. Present yourself well. Colleges often keep track of students who have stopped by their booth and spoken to an admissions representative, so make sure you look sharp and arrive prepared with a 10-second statement to explain your goals for your college career. Bring well-researched questions about each school, and provide your name and contact information at every stop.
  5. 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. If you plan to use a different email address for college admissions, set it up before you visit the fair (and make sure it's professional).
  6. 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 of opportunities beforehand and plan to make it to a session that interests you.
  7. Send thank you emails. When you get home, send an email to each college representative you met (grab a business card at each booth you visit). Thank each rep for his or her time, reiterate your interest in each school, including specifics on what draws your attention the most, and share a small piece of information about how you're working hard to prepare for college. If you can tie in a part of your conversation from the fair, to jog the rep's memory, do so.

Your school counselor will likely have a list of upcoming college fairs in your area, but you can also check the NACAC and NEACAC web pages for nearby events.

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