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College Fair Tips

College-bound juniors and seniors know that fall is college fair sea­son. Often held at local malls, colleges, high schools and other

large venues, the fairs feature hundreds of college admissions representatives, each with an array of informative brochures. After a few minutes, one table may begin to look like another. That's when planning ahead can help you make the most of your time at the fair. Here are seven tips for strategizing your college fair visit:

1. Organize before you go: Review a list of the participating colleges, usually avail­able online or at your high school guidance office. Zero in on those in which you are especially interested. Make another list of secondary colleges to check out if you have time.


2. Prepare your questions ahead of time: Review the colleges' websites and prepare questions you would like to ask each rep­resentative. College fairs are crowded and you may not have time to get all of your questions answered, so choose questions that are not easily found on the schools' websites.


3. Print address labels to bring with you: Save time filling out interest cards and use pre-printed address labels with your name, address, email address, your high school, when you expect to start college and the major(s) in which you are interested. If your high school guidance office provides personal barcodes with this information, be sure to get yours before you go. It's also helpful to bring along a notebook and pen to take notes.


4. Strategize: When you arrive, pick up a map/list of schools to help target the col­leges in which you are interested. Bags are usually available at the door for all the bro­chures you're going to be getting. Having a family member with you can be a big help. If your family is concerned about financing your college education, you may want a trusted adult to spend time at the financial aid table with you.


5. Arrive early: If you get there early, you can move at a more leisurely pace. The lat­er you arrive, the more crowded it gets and the less likely the college reps will have as much time to spend with you.


6. Review carefully: Over the next few days, review each college's materials. If there's something you really like about the school, high­light it and put a sticky note on the page so you can find it later. If you have a question about some­thing you read, write it down and put it on the top of the pile. If you can't find the answer in the bro­chures, check out their website. If you still have questions, send an email to the admissions representative to get more information.


7. File, file, file: Once you've reviewed everything, you may discover that some of the schools you were considering don't
really fit what you're looking for in a college; bring those brochures back to the guidance office to share with other students. Create a file for each of the remaining schools, so you can add any additional information you receive from them. Your personal college file will become your best tool for making a wise college choice.

Sample questions for college fair admissions Representatives

  • What quali­ties should pro­spective students have?

  • When must I choose a major?

  • What is the average student to teacher ratio?

  • Is student housing guaranteed all four years?

  • How are roommates selected?

  • What programs are offered to help students adjust to college life?

  • What other student services are of­fered (tutoring, career counseling, study groups)?

  • Please estimate the percentage of grants, scholarships, loans and work-study awarded in your financial aid packages.

  • How many freshmen return for their sophomore year?


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