College Fairs and Visits

College fairs and visits are ways for students choosing a school to get an in-depth look at a college before applying. Students get to ask questions, talk to representatives, and learn facts about campus and academic life at prospective schools. A fair or a visit can help you narrow down your list, expand your list, or rule out a college you thought you wanted to apply to.

How to Prepare for College Fairs

Register for the college fair you want to attend. A list of schools should be available online, allowing you to make a list of the school booths you want to visit. Gather a bag, a notebook, and some pens to take to the fair with you. Also, prepare a shortlist of questions for each college representative. Instead of specific questions like SAT scores or academics, this is your chance to ask general questions, like what makes the school stand out.

What to Do During a College Fair

Head to the booths of the schools you want to learn about. Collect pamphlets and admission materials, and chat with the representative. Take notes on what you learn, then move to the next spot. You only have a finite amount of time, so keep moving. Once you’ve seen all the schools you want to see, stop by a few other booths. You might discover a school you didn’t consider before but that might fit your needs well.

How to Prepare for College Visits

Plan your college visits early, because you need to schedule them within your study time and extracurriculars. You may also need to arrange travel and lodging. Do research on the school before you get there. Sign up for a tour, but plan to take your own walk around campus once the tour is over. Make a list of questions to ask your tour guide.

What to Do During a College Visit

Talk to students you see on campus and ask them about campus life. Take notes during your tour, and ask about any cool spots to see once the tour is over. Always visit one of the dorms and eat in one of the dining halls. Visiting the surrounding city doesn’t hurt, either.

What to Do When You Get Home

When you arrive home from the fair or the visit, sit down and go over what you’ve learned. At the fair, certain schools probably stood out. Write down those schools, and indicate why each interested you. Put aside information on the schools you’re not interested in, but keep it for comparison.

After your college visit, reflect on what you learned about campus life and academics. Write down whether you think this school will be a good fit for you and why. Review the notes you took during the visit and the answers to your questions. Finally, can you see yourself as a student there?

You can change your mind about a particular school once you see it in person and talk to people who know it. That’s why visiting campuses and attending college fairs is such an important part of choosing the right school for you.