At a college fair, each college has a table with a display set up which provides information on the college's location, their majors, extra-curricular and athletics offerings, and unique opportunities available on their campuses. They also will have some pamphlets and brochures for you to take with you! Here are some tips/suggestions for you to have a great college fair experience!
- Bring a Bag! You are going to be collecting a lot of materials from athletics brochures, study abroad worksheets, to business cards. It is best if you have something to put all of that information in. Some college fairs provide plastic bags for you, but others don't so you will want to be prepared! My suggestion is either a back pack or a tote bag, that way you can drop stuff in your pockets as you are walking around.
- Wear Comfortable Shoes! You are going to be standing and walking around a lot, so be sure you are wearing comfortable shoes. Some High School Guidance Counselors suggest you dress up to attend a college fair and if you are going with your school, you should probably follow their suggestions. However, if you are going by yourself, with some friends, or with your family, you can dress nice but still be comfortable! This isn't an interview, it is just a chance to get more information about the colleges! Jeans are fine to wear with your comfortable shoes, but please no sweatpants or yoga pants!!
- Make Stickers with your Information! So, I never knew about this as a High School student, but it saves you a lot of time and effort of continuously writing your name and information on hundreds of recruiting cards. (It probably won't be 100, but trust me, after the tenth it will feel like it!) So, these stickers/labels can be found at office supply stores or even at Walmart. You will want to include the following information:Full Name and Gender
Telephone and Cell Phone
Name of your High School
Extra-Curricular Activities or Athletics you are interested in
You can type the information out and print it on the labels for you to have the day of the college fair. Peeling off a sticker and putting it on the recruiter card will help save a lot of time. If you don't have the access to these or you are short on time, write up an index card with all of that information so that you don't take as much time filling out the recruiting cards. (This will be better than looking at your phone at each booth trying to find your cell phone or home phone number.) This will also give you more time to speak with the representative and actively listen to what they have to say!
- Have a Game Plan! Most college fair organizers put out a list closer to the date of the event of the colleges that are registered to attend. Once you get this list, make a game plan for which universities you really want to visit and what specific questions you want to know. **If you are just starting your college search and this is your first event, then having a game plan isn't necessarily essential. As long as you go into the event with an open mind and a willingness to stop at different tables and chat with the admissions representatives, then it will be successful for you!
- Be Independent! Whether you go to the college fair with your parents or go with your friends, don't cling to them. This is your opportunity to go out there, meet with representatives, and start formulating your future! If you are only going to the tables that your parents and friends want, you may miss out on your dream school's table. I definitely suggest you take your parent's advice on what college tables to visit, but visit some of the ones that you want too!
NACAC (National Association for College Admissions Counseling) holds National College Fairs all across the country during the fall. If you go to this website, you will be able to find a college fair near you! Don't forget to ask your guidance counselor if they know of any local college fairs that you can attend close to home.
enjoy the chase,