Juniors: Check out a College Fair

Juniors should be knee deep in creating an initial list of colleges. Here's another tool for your research arsenal -- college fairs. At college fairs, admission representatives or alumni are present to answer questions and pass out brochures and other information to students and their families. These events are a great starting point to learn more about a wide range of schools or to get to know one of the colleges on your list more deeply.  

Since these events can be crowded and chaotic, an action plan can help ensure that you get the most out of the experience. Here are our suggestions:

        *    Obtain a list of the participating colleges online or from your college counselor in advance of the fair and determine which schools’ booths you will want to visit.

        *    Do some homework. Check out the websites of the schools you want to visit and prepare a list of questions after you’ve done some research.

        *     While you're collecting brochures from colleges in which you may be interested, also pick up the business card of the school's representative.     They could be a good contact point for further information.

        *     Do not bring a resume. Schools are not interested in a resume from you at this point.

        *     College fairs sometimes include information sessions on subjects such as financial aid or the search process, so plan accordingly if you want to attend.

         *   Leave some time to wander around. A school that you hadn’t considered may catch your eye. Take the time to interact with its admission representative and learn more.

 

         *   Helpful hint: You can obtain a bar code with your personal information -- name, address, email, phone number -- by pre-registering for the fair or at the event. That way you can quickly provide your information to the schools in which you're interested.

Check with your college or guidance counselor to find out about upcoming fairs in your area, or go to NACAC’s website to see a posting of national fairs. Also, ask your counselor about fairs that cater to specialized groups, such as students interested in performing and visual arts programs, Hispanic and Latino applicants, scholarship students, and others. Also look for college fair road shows that might be coming to your area, such as Colleges that Change Lives and Exploring College Options.

 

You can find more guidance on research resources and how to use them in Chapter 8 ofCollege Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step, "Creating an Initial List of Colleges" and on our website under the Book tab at "Resources."

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