Tips for College Fair Attendance

Tips for College Fair Attendance

Oh man, it’s been a minute since I last blogged. But the Fall is upon us again which means another admission cycle and more importantly, COLLEGE FAIR SEASON!

While College Fair Season isn’t an official season like Summer or Fall, there are a number exciting things about the start of this time of year. College fairs are one of the best ways to see and learn about a large number of universities in one foul swoop. They’re also a great way to get excited about the prospect of higher education.

But just like any season there are adjustments that need to be made. And that’s why I’m here. I’m here to give you some tips and pointers to maximizing your college fair experience. Let’s dive on in:

Do Some Pre-Planning– Most fairs have a list of institutions attending well before the start of the fair. If you can, check out the list and note the top school you’re interested in. Then, mark some schools you’ve heard of and want to know more about. When you arrive to the actual fair grab a map and head to your top schools first (but don’t run) then your secondary schools. Once you’re done with those wonder around for a bit. Explore some places you’ve never heard of and grab their information. The point of these fairs is to learn more about the schools you’re interested in and to explore others you may have never heard of before.

Think of Some Questions Before Attending– You don’t need to have a list of written questions you ask to every table you visit, but having a couple pre-thought questions will help you utilize your time properly. Asking simple fact questions (like size, minimum requirements etc) can be avoided since most of those answers are in the hand-out materials. Instead ask more in depth questions like, “what makes your school unique?” or “what are some of the popular and active student groups on campus?” Asking these types of questions will help paint a more well-rounded picture of the college or university beyond stats /figures. If you’re stumped on what questions to ask, see your college counselor. They are a wealth of information in all aspects of the college search.

Avoid Asking, “How good is your X program?” and “What do I have to have to have get into your university?”– These are my least favorite questions to receive at a college fair. They’re difficult questions to answer when they’re phrased that way. How do you want me to judge good? How do you judge good? And when you ask about minimum requirements for admission you might be missing other (equally important) aspects of application review. Luckily, there are two extremely easy ways to ask these questions and receive the same information. Ask, “Can you please tell me more about your X program?” This allows the admission representative to tell you about the curriculum, student involvement and accolades a program might have received. The other is, “How do you review applications for admission?” This allows the admission rep to explain the  whole process beyond just the numbers.

Snatch and Grab Politely– If you want to be strictly business at these fairs, go for it. But if you’re going to just grab information from a table then go to the next please be polite about it. When you approach the table smile and say “hello” grab what you’d like then say “thank you.” Most counselors understand your time is precious and you probably have other things you need to worry about that night. But, running through the fair grabbing anything you can is not cool.

Enjoy The Fair– Seems like hokey advice, but it’s still valuable. I see too many stressed out parents and students at my fairs. They run around the fair grabbing everything they can and talking with absolutely every school. If that’s what you want to do, go for it. But, I think people lose sight of the fact that we (admission reps) are there to serve them. The college fair is your time to explore and learn more. Don’t feel like to need to get to the fair right as it starts and stay until it ends. Use your time the way you want to. Ask questions, walk around casually, see a variety of schools and make connections with admission counselors. Most importantly, enjoy this whole college search experience.

Loyola’s admission counselors will be out all over the country over the next couple of weeks. To read more about each counselor and their respective territory check out this page.

Comments are closed.