Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Colleges

Tips for tackling a National College Fair

Making the most of a college fair means planning your strategy before you enter the door. As part of your preparation, you might even want to watch a short video, at nacacnet.org/ncfstudent, on what to expect at the fair.

"Treat a college fair like a buffet dinner," advises a director of undergraduate admissions from Florida. "There will be more there than you can possibly take in, but then again, not everything is to your taste."

Prepare your questions: Write up a short list of questions to ask representatives. The questions you ask should be unique to your interests and not easily found in standard college materials. So instead of asking the representative how many people are in the freshman class, ask what the two or three most popular majors are or what courses you would take your first year in a particular major. Students who are undecided should ask about what services and support are available to help them explore majors.

Register early: You can register for NACAC National College Fairs at gotomyncf.com. If you do, colleges can collect your contact information electronically, leaving you with more time to talk to representatives. Remember to bring a copy of your registration admittance pass.

Map it out: Use a map to find your priority colleges. Also, make sure to check out the information sessions. Many fairs have sessions on the search process, applications, financial aid and other issues run by experts in the field.

Take notes: After you leave a table, jot down your impressions and the answers the representatives gave you. Try to do this before you move on, while your impressions are still fresh.

Team up: If a family member attends with you, strategize ahead of time. You might decide to split up, so your parent can attend the financial aid seminar while you visit more colleges.

Follow-up: When you get home, don't succumb to the temptation of just piling all those brochures in the corner of your bedroom. If you're feeling overwhelmed, take a day or two away. Then get out all of those brochures, along with the notes you took while at the fair, and read through them. You might find that some colleges aren't as interesting as you first thought. Othersers may look better the more you research them. For those colleges, follow up by filling out the information cards in the brochures or by scheduling college visits.

Source: National College Fairs

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