Mmmm, I’m of two minds about going to college fairs—and I say that knowing full well that I am going to a college fair tonight! I’ll be representing Clark University at William Paterson College, in Passaic County, NJ.
Reasons to skip the college fair
- already feeling overwhelmed with possibilities… these events, often with many (in some cases hundreds of) colleges present, may be stressful
- anxious about getting a school assignment done for tomorrow or later in the week… there will be other opportunities to learn information about colleges.
Reasons to go
- pick up materials and talk with representatives from the colleges that interest you
- look closely at the values represented by the print materials and the staff and/or alumni
- start to imagine life at college
Exploring the Colleges, Leaving a Great Impression, and Enjoying Yourself
1. Know what you want to achieve ~ What are you looking for, what do you need and want to learn about the different colleges?
2. Work out with your parent(s) in advance how you will enjoy the fair ~ Will you go on your own? With a parent(s)?
3. Speak for yourself ~ Introduce yourself, shake hands
4. Make a connection with the representative ~Have a conversation
5. Have your questions ready
Ask questions that indicate you want to learn about the school and students. Here are some ideas… My top ten questions.
- Did you go to (the college)?
- What did you major in?
- What made (the college) special for you?
- What is the college known for (for example, traditions, or the nature of student body, the political and social climate)?
- What are the emphases of the admissions process?
- What’s the typical class size?
- Do students talk with professors outside of class—beyond office hours?
- Do students talk about what they are learning outside of classes?
- Are any special services offered for support of all students (tutoring or a writing center)?
- What percentage of students graduate in 4 years?
What are your Top Ten Questions? Be sure to go prepared with your questions—and get them answered!
- Avoid questions that indicate that you haven’t done your homework about the college. Remember you might interview with these representatives at a later date, and you want to leave a good impression.
6 Request materials from the representative only if you are interested in that college. (Save a tree or two.)
7. Take notes after each conversation, as there are hundreds of schools at these events, and it’s easy to forget information or get confused afterward).
You can read even more on my post, We’re off to see the wizard…Going to College Fairs