Attending College Fairs

You do not have to travel long distances to see hundreds of colleges in one day. College fairs are great vehicles to enhance your college search without getting on an airplane. Every year there are college fairs held in locations all over the United States. Standing behind each table is a representative from a college who wants to answer your questions. This is a great chance to get answers to specific questions about potential colleges, learn about new schools, and get a sense for what might fit you.

Things to do before the fair:

  • Make an appointment with your counselor or college counselor to discuss your college plans.
  • Use resource materials in your guidance office or library to learn more about colleges.
  • Find out which colleges will be at the fair. Make a priority list of schools you want to investigate. Which colleges are a “must see”?
  • Discuss your plans for college with your parents, teachers and friends.
  • Use the internet to search the websites of the colleges and make a list of questions to ask.
  • Invite your parents to attend with you; they need to learn, too.

What to bring to a college fair:

  • Small bag to hold college information
  • Notepad and pen/pencil to take notes
  • Specific questions for specific colleges
  • Open mind to learning about new colleges

What not to bring to a college fair:

  • Your application
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Gifts for the college reps

Things to do at the fair:

  • When you enter the fair pick up a directory listing all the colleges and the locations of their booths. Identify the schools you want to learn about, seek them out.
  • Take brochures from colleges you’re not familiar with. Don’t just spend time with the colleges you know.
  • Plan to attend one or more information session.
  • Make notes about the colleges you speak with and get a business card from the representative.
  • Take your time. Don’t feel you have to speak with every college. Don’t leave a college booth until you have all of your questions answered.
  • Stay focused on college. Lots of your friends may also be attending, so beware of turning this into a hang-out. Make plans to spend time with them afterwards. Make your time at the college fair count.

Questions you may want to ask:

  • How can I arrange a campus visit?
  • Are there any special visiting days coming up on campus?
  • How do you assign faculty advisers to students?
  • What types of internships or co-op programs are available?
  • How many of last year’s freshmen returned for their sophomore year?
  • What percentage of a typical freshman class will graduate from your college?
  • What is the average high school grade point average of the entering freshman class?
  • When must I declare a major?
  • What is the average student GPA after freshman year?
  • What sort of guidance do you offer students who are undecided on a major?
  • How does your college place students in classes?
  • What are the application deadlines for admission and financial aid?
  • What kinds of extracurricular activities are there on campus?

When you’re ready to apply, Cappex has tons of college search resources to help you find the perfect college match.