Whether you’re a sophomore just beginning the college search or a senior in the throes of finalizing your application list, you might just find yourself wandering the stalls of a college fair this fall. And while these events are a great way to learn about schools, they can occasionally be awkward or nerve-wracking. After all, you shouldn’t just breeze through, quickly snatch up some pamphlets and then immediately depart. To make the most out of the experience you really must stop and chat with the admissions officers and alumni in attendance.
Of course, it might seem intimidating to approach these representatives. From a distance they appear to be stern gatekeepers, individuals who are coyly judging your worthiness and potential. However, you should understand that they are actually eager to talk and to answer your questions. They want to get students interested in their respective school and they will certainly welcome your inquiries.
While there are no wrong questions to ask, you should try and avoid very general queries such as “What should I know about your school?” or “Why should I attend this college?” It’s harder for the reps to give insightful answers when questions are vague. And that won’t help you out much as you try and narrow down your options. Instead, ask more targeted questions that call for the representative to speak to specific topics and examples.
Here are some sample questions for you to consider:
• What are some fun campus traditions?
• Are interviews an important part of the application process?
• Do you require standardized test scores?
• How do you evaluate students during the admissions process?
• Do students tend to stick around campus on the weekends?
• What kind of support services do you offer if a student is struggling in a class?
• Is it easy to conduct research with professors?
• How popular are study abroad programs at your school?
• How active is your alumni association?
• Is it difficult to register for classes or enroll in the courses you need?
• What is there to do in the surrounding area?
• Do students seem to like the food?
• Do most undergrads live on campus? Or are students dying to get off-campus housing?
• Are students allowed to have cars on campus?
• What’s the percentage of students who graduate within four years?
• How does your career services office help students find internships and jobs?
• What is your freshmen retention rate?
• What are your most popular majors?
• How well are undergrads able to get to know their professors?
• What do you love most about this school?
There’s no reason to be nervous or tongue tied when meeting with college reps. Remember – they’re hoping to make a good impression as well. All you need is to have a few questions in your back pocket and the conversation is sure to flow!