College Fairs: What They Are and How To Use Them

Many high school students go through K-12 with the full intention of going to college but not ever really considering where they’d like to go, or perhaps even what they’d like to do.

You’ve spent the hours studying to get your grades up, the afternoons at extra-circular activities, and the evenings at SAT prep courses, and suddenly, it’s the end of your junior year and it’s time to really start thinking about college. If you’re not quite sure where to attend college, let alone where to even apply, a “college fair” is a fast and easy way to collect tons of information on colleges and universities in your local area.

 What You’ll Need:

  • An hour or two
  • A folder
  • A notebook
  • A pen
  • An open mind

A college fair usually occurs on a weekday evening in a hall or gym in your community. Your adviser, councilor, or teachers can likely give you days and times for upcoming college fairs. College admissions representatives from the area set up tables stocked with fliers, information sheets, and occasionally pens, key chains and other fun marketing toys for you to collect! You’re free to wander around the tables you find interesting, asking the representatives any questions you might have on the various institutions. Even if you have a pretty good idea on what colleges you’ll be applying to, it may not be a bad idea to check out a few others anyway. Colleges are always working to make the college experience as successful and enjoyable as possible, whether that means adding additional programs or altering their residence life policies! You don’t know what you could be missing until you check it out!

As you walk from table to table, in your notebook, describe your thoughts as they’re fresh in your mind, and pick up everything they’ll let you take home. With so many colleges in one place handing out information, it can be easy to start confusing which college had what programs.

After leaving the fair, or within a few days, sort through the information you’ve obtained. It might be beneficial to create comparative charts of your top colleges so you can see their differences side by side. By going through your career fair information, you may also come up with some questions you hadn’t thought of asking. More than likely, you have a pile of business cards and contact sheets in your pile. Feel free to follow up with any representatives on questions or concerns you may have. That’s what they’re there for!

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