College fairs are a great way to start your college search. You can gain a lot of information about a number of colleges in a short amount of time. However, college fairs can also overwhelm students, so it helps to have an idea of what making the most of a college fair means. Following these six simple guidelines will help you do well at a college fair.
Have a plan
College fairs can be overwhelming if you don’t know what your goals are. Just as you would make a shopping list to go to the grocery store, make a list of colleges you know you want to learn more about. Look to see if there’s a map of the fair, and if there isn’t, take a quick look around to assess the area. Also, don’t be afraid to deviate from your list if you discover something interesting you didn’t plan on seeing.
Bring certain items with you
As part of your plan, be sure to bring certain items with you. We recommend the following:
- Pad of paper and pen
- Tote bag for brochures
- Printed out address labels (so you don’t have to spend time filling out contact cards)
- Business card holder (for the business cards you pick up)
Do your research and take notes
By doing a bit of research on colleges before the fair, you can come prepared with specific questions. You’ll also want to write down the answers to these questions and write down any specific information you didn’t know before so you’ll have it in the future.
Come application time, having someone you can connect with can be valuable. Be sure to introduce yourself to the people working the booths, and find out how you can stay in touch. They may be representatives from your town (if you’re at a local fair). Representatives can not only help answer your questions, but they may also be able to vouch for you when it comes to admission or financial aid later on.
Go to information sessions
If your college fair offers information sessions, go to them. They often answer more general questions about the college application process, and can be invaluable to students just starting out.
Organize materials immediately afterwards
When you come home, take stock of which colleges stood out to you and why. Organize your notes on each of these colleges into a binder, and get rid of any pamphlets or information for schools that don’t make your list, so you don’t feel cluttered.
A college counselor can give you information about college fairs near you, or you can look them up here. A college fair is a great way to get your search started, so making the most of a college fair can serve you well.