As many students are gearing up to attend college fairs across Pennsylvania, it is important to think about what you want to get out of each visit. With the average college fair totaling over 100 universities in attendance, it may feel overwhelming to know who to talk to, what questions to ask, and how to best utilize their time. Here are five useful tips on how to make the most out of attending a college fair:
- 1. Have a Game Plan: Since there will be many colleges in attendance, try to research what types of schools you would like to talk to beforehand. Prior to attending, students can go to collegeboard.organd research school size, location, tuition price, choice of major, and extracurricular actives/sports options which can then be filtered to make a unique list of potential places to attend.
- 2. Explore Available Workshops: At many college fairs, special workshops are presented by experts in the field which focus on financial aid, selecting a college, how to write a college essay, and selecting a major. These sessions are usually available for students and parents to attend free of charge. Look on the college fair's website to determine what workshops may be available during the time slot you attend.
- 3. Meet with a High School Counselor: At some college fairs, School Counselors are in attendance to work with families to help them navigate through the college planning process. Some questions that a student may ask a School Counselor may be: what colleges have my particular major I'm interested in, Is the college I'm interested in available to talk to, and what are the best high school senior courses to take when applying for a certain major? School Counselors will also help in connecting families to speak with admission representative from schools of interest.
4. Ask Open-Ended Questions: Make sure when you meet with a representative from a college, you are asking questions that are important to you and your family. Examples could be: what types of scholarships are offered? Are there career placement services after graduation? What types of housing are available? Are their campus activities that I can participate in? What sort of meal plan does the college offer?
- 5. Stay Organized: Most representatives will provide students with pamphlets, brochures, souvenirs, and college swag. By keeping a folder handy with you, you will have a place to store these items at the fair. You may also want to ask for a contact card from each college you would like to follow up with at a later date. Take notes and keep a college log on what you liked and disliked from the representatives you spoke to; then discard the schools that don’t match up with your goals.
Remember to enjoy this time as you discover your interests while speaking with representatives who share your goal: deciding what college journey is best for you!