The College Fair: How to Prepare

College fairs are a fantastic way to kick your school search into high gear.  After all, they’ll allow you to gain exposure to a number of universities and glean a multitude of information, all without having to travel very far.  Sounds like a win, right?  Of course, if you truly want to make the most of your time, you’ll do a little bit of prep work before you attend.

To begin with, try and procure a list of the colleges that will be in attendance.  Review the names with both your guidance counselor and your parents.  See if there are any particular schools that catch your eye or institutions that your counselor thinks might be a good fit for you.  You can start compiling a tentative list from these discussions.

After you’ve crafted your list of (potential) contenders, set aside some time to conduct a little research.  We realize that this might sound slightly antithetical or extraneous; after all, you’re attending the fair specifically for research purposes.  And that’s a reasonable point!  However, in order to really maximize your time, you want to be able to ask targeted questions.  Indeed, why bother making inquiries about subjects that are clearly addressed on a school’s website?

Instead, sit down and learn a little bit about each school.  Are there unique study abroad opportunities that peak your curiosity?  Is there a core curriculum that you’d have to satisfy?  Are there special, themed houses in which freshmen can live?  The more details you uncover, the more questions you’re likely to develop.

Remember - college reps will be able to supply answers from an insider’s perspective.  And they’ll certainly give you a better sense of the flavor of a particular school.  By arriving at the fair armed with questions tailored to your interests and needs, you’ll be able to take full advantage of their knowledge and walk away with a clearer picture of each institution.

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