Plan Now for College Fairs

Attending college fairs can be a great way to check out a bunch of schools at one time. NACAC maintains a list of national college fairs.  You can find local college fairs through your high school guidance office or by searching online with "college fairs" followed by your zip code.

Walking into a gym filled with rows of tables can feel overwhelming though, so make sure you have a plan. Here's a three minute video that explains what you can expect at a college fair and here are a few tips so you can make the most of the event:

  • find out in advance which colleges will be attending. Target those colleges you want to know more about first, and then do a walk-through to learn about colleges that might not yet be on your radar screen.
  • Organize some questions in advance. You may want to ask the representative about the academic and social atmosphere, which types of students do best at the college and if any new programs are being added in the next few years.
  • Remember your manners. Shake hands, make eye contact, say please and thank you. This may be the very person who will hold your application in a few months. Don't make an unfavorable impression.
  • If you have continued interest in any of the colleges, follow up with a brief email to the admissions counselor you met. A simple "it was nice to meet you" and perhaps a follow-up question or two, will show your interest in the college.
Take advantage of college fairs as a way to jump-start your search or to narrow down your choices. This is time well invested in your search for a right-fit college.