College Fairs: What You Need to Know

By Patricia Gorden Neill - February 26th, 2013

Your high school guidance counselor might have mentioned college fairs to you, what they are, which colleges are there, what you can learn and why you should go. Every fall and spring, colleges gather at a local community or conference center or even at your school and set up booths. College representatives staff those booths, giving you a chance to talk to them and pick up school brochures and other information. While a college fair won’t provide you with as much information as an actual visit to a college, a college fair does give you the opportunity to ask the college rep any questions you have. Here’s a few steps to make sure you get the most out of the experience.

Have a Plan

Find out beforehand which colleges will be there. Dress well so if you see the college of your dreams has a booth, you’ll be eminently presentable. Prepare a list of questions for the college rep about the school, campus life, safety issues or any other concerns you may have. You should already have done some online research about the school so you know enough to ask perceptive questions.

While You’re There

Walk around the room and notice where the booths of the colleges you’re interested in are located. Go to those booths first. Pick up college brochures and business cards with contact information for the representative. It’s always handy to have a name and phone number for questions that may arise later.

Feel free to ask about scholarships and financial aid. It’ll be no surprise to anyone that with a troubled economy students are concerned about costs. At the same time, show your interest in the college by mentioning your positive impressions of the school. If this is a college you’re seriously interested in, let the representative know it. It will key you into their memory and make a good impression.

Wander Around

College fairs are great places for checking out colleges you are not familiar with. Keep an open mind, you might find an even better college for you by talking to the rep and asking questions. Ask what the campus is like and if they have the major you’re interested in. Finding a new school to add to your college wish list can be exciting.

Afterwards

Once you’re home, think about the colleges you liked and why. Pull out the brochures and business cards and organize the information you’ve collected. Any other information you need can probably be found online. Start preparing for the next step, the college visit.

About the Author

Patricia Gorden NeillPatricia Gorden Neill edited medical and scholarly journals for over 20 years in the ivy-covered halls of the University of Rochester. She is a freelance writer, often covering higher education and the concerns of college age students, and is regularly published on a variety of websites.