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Resource CenterCollege Search & SelectionCollege ResearchMaking the Most of the College Fair

Making the Most of the College Fair

In life, preparation is key.  To accomplish anything, be it a mundane task or major goal, it’s always important to be prepared and have a strategy.  This notion certainly extends to your college search and, more specifically, your visit to the college fair.  You want to leave the event knowing that you made the most of the evening!

Pre-Fair Sleuthing

We realize it might seem unnecessary (or even counterintuitive) to conduct a little research before you swing by the college fair.  After all, you’re attending said fair explicitly for research purposes.  However, the more legwork you do beforehand, the more you’re likely to get out of the event.

See if you can procure a list of schools that will be at the fair.  Select a handful of colleges and universities that might be of interest.  This will allow you to maximize your time as opposed to wandering around aimlessly, half-heartedly looking at schools that you don’t really want to attend.

Additionally, find a moment to do a quick Google search of your potential schools.  If you come equipped with a general understanding of each institution, you’ll be able to ask more targeted questions and gain a deeper insight from each respective rep and/or alumni.

Make an Unexpected Discovery

Of course, though we recommend arriving with a predetermined list of colleges, that doesn’t mean you must limit yourself to those schools.  College fairs are great, in part, because they offer you the opportunity to explore.  Indeed, you can gain an introduction to a university you might not have known about previously.  If there’s a new school that catches your eye, seize the moment and make a beeline for the table.  You never know if you’re about to discover your future alma mater! 

Dress for Success

While you don’t need to pull out your prom dress/tux to attend the college fair, you should still steer away from gym shorts or workout gear.  Wear clean, freshly pressed clothes; in other words, look presentable.  You want to demonstrate that you’re a serious student who is serious about his/her academic future.

Manners and Maturity

Similar to your outward appearance, you want to make sure you carry yourself in a polite, dignified manner.  Sure, this isn’t an interview, but you never know if you’ll come across these people at another point during your application process.  And you don’t know what they’ll retain.  Smile, make eye contact and don’t monopolize the conversation.  After all, other students are there to learn and ask their own questions.

If you think you’ll have continued interest in these schools, ask the reps for their contact information.  You can send them a quick email thanking them for their time and their insider knowledge.  Keep it short and professional and while you might pose another question or two, don’t start sending inquiries on a daily basis.

College fairs are a fantastic opportunity to really begin sinking your teeth into your higher ed. search.  You get great exposure to a wide variety of schools and information from those who truly know the lay of the land.  If you know of a fair being held in your area, we suggest you head on over and get the lowdown on colleges ASAP! 



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Don Munce