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Before Being Accepted: Tips for Preparing for a College Fair

written by: Stephanie Torreno•edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 2/7/2011

A college and career fair can give students an opportunity to learn about many colleges and careers in one setting. High school students should prepare before attending one of these events to make the most of the experience. Learn helpful tips for college and career fair planning in this article.

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    Attending a College and Career Fair

    A college and career fair provides an excellent chance for high school juniors and seniors to gather a wealth of information about schools and jobs. Attending one can feel overwhelming with so many college representatives vying for your attention. You should not be intimidated, though. By using these tips for college and career fair planning, you can confidently learn the information you need to begin selecting the school and career that are right for you.

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    Tips for College and Career Fair Planning

    Before going to a college and career fair, you should list the schools and careers that interest you. To begin answering the questions you have about individual colleges, you should log onto their website and find as much general information as you can. Research specific careers you are interesting in too. By doing this, you can ask the representatives at the fair unanswered questions and talk to them about specific topics. Do not forget to bring this list, a pen, and more paper to write down the information you receive.

    You can also be prepared by making labels with your contact information, birthday, graduation date from high school, GPA and SAT/ACT scores, and possible majors. Since many schools will ask you to complete inquiry cards to add you to their mailing lists, sticking your labels on these cards will save you time.

    When you first arrive at the fair, get the floor plan and locate the representative of the colleges on your list. This will allow you to visit the representatives from your top colleges first. Then, you can visit other booths if you have time. You should also attend informative seminars that many college fairs offer. These sessions cover topics such as financial aid, applications, and the admission process and typically offer question and answer sessions.

    The questions you ask college representatives should be specific. Asking the representative to tell you about the school is too vague and will probably not get you the answers you need. One of the best tips for college and career fair planning is definitely bringing a list of questions specific to your interests, especially if you could not find the answers on the websites. Among the questions you should consider asking are:

    • Ask about the majors that interest you. What courses are required for these majors? What are graduates of these majors now doing?
    • What are the school’s recommendations for taking the SAT? What is the enrollment deadline?
    • What are the admission requirements? Do admissions officers make decisions based on scores and grades, or do they consider to activities, experience, and interests?
    • Are there any financial aid secrets you can give me? How and when should I apply?
    • What size are classes?
    • Is tutoring available? Is it free?
    • Is counseling available?
    • What kinds of career services does the school offer?
    • What are the food plan choices?
    • How safe is the campus and the surrounding neighborhood?
    • Is parking close to campus? Is it free?
    • What are some campus traditions?
    • What types of extracurricular activities are available?
    • What do students do on weekends?
    • What types of classes will I need to take to prepare for my chosen career?
    • What other activities will prepare me for this career?
    • What is the occupational outlook for this career?

    After talking to college and career representatives, be sure to ask for their business cards. If you have additional questions, knowing their name and contact information will let you speak to them personally. Followi-up after a college and career fair is the best tip to take away. This will allow you to further establish personal contact with a school or representative and discover the best choices for your future.

    Sources: College Fair Tips. Ecampustours.com, (2005).