College Fairs – Spring/Summer 2016

Making the Most of a College FairWe have compiled information on several college tour groups and college fairs traveling during Spring/Summer 2016. Please click on the links to find out if a college/university that you are interested in will be traveling to an area near you. Also, please be sure to check with your school’s college admission counselor, your local newspaper, or the admission offices of colleges that interest you to find out if, when and where a representative may be presenting information at a college fair near you.

Attending college fairs and meeting representatives of colleges that you are considering is valuable for “demonstrating interest” in those colleges. These can be critically important opportunities for personal interaction with the admission officer who will be responsible for applications from your area . . . so make the effort to have a brief but memorable meeting. Then, follow-up the brief over-the-table interaction with a personal email.

NACAC Spring 2016 National College Fair
Parents and students participating in the free National College Fairs meet one-on-one with representatives from colleges and universities to discuss admission and financial aid opportunities at their respective institutions. Fairs are held between February 28 and May 23 in the following states: FL, NY, GA, SC, MI, NC, CT, MA, RI, TX, NE, HI, OH, TN, MD, CA, NJ, BC. Check the website for the specific schedule. Register before the fair to make the most of your time onsite and ensure that colleges can follow up with you. (http://www.gotomyncf.com/Registration/EventSelectForState?stateName=All)

Coast to Coast College Tour, Spring 2016
Dartmouth College, Northwestern University, Princeton University, University of California-Berkeley, and Vanderbilt University collaborate on a series of events across the country designed to educate students and parents on selective admission, financial aid, and the common admission philosophy shared among the five institutions. Students and parents are encouraged to take this opportunity to speak informally with admission representatives as well as to explore the defining characteristics of each school. Locations and dates have not yet been announced. Click on the link (http://www.coasttocoasttour.org) for more information and to register.

Colleges That Change Lives
Each Colleges That Change Lives program begins with a 30-minute panel presentation on completing a college search today, sharing the latest research on specific campus characteristics and learning components that lead to the most successful college experience. Immediately after the panel presentation, the college fair begins, lasting approximately 1.5 hours. See the website for participating colleges. The US tour will visit the following states between May 14 and August 31: GA, TX, NJ, MD, DC, MA, NC, IL, CO, NY, CA, TN, MN, PA, AZ, OR, WA, MO. (http://ctcl.org/info-sessions/)

Exploring Educational Excellence
Join Brown, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell and Rice for an information session for prospective students and their families. Sessions include a brief overview of each institution, information on admissions and financial aid, and a chance to speak informally with admissions representatives. Information sessions will be held in CA, TX, MN, MI, IN, IL, MO, FL, GA, NC, VA, MD, PA, NJ, and NY between April 24 and June 5. See the website for more information and to register: http://www.exploringeducationalexcellence.org/index.php

8 of the Best Colleges
Claremont McKenna, Colorado College, Connecticut College, Grinnell College, Haverford College, Kenyon College, Macalester College, and Sarah Lawrence College invite students and families to learn more about these eight internationally recognized liberal arts colleges.  Receptions will be held between May 15-19 in five cities: Chicago, IL, Minneapolis, MN, Denver, CO, Phoenix, AZ, and San Diego, CA. http://8ofthebestcolleges.org/index.html

Jesuit Excellence Tour (JET)
The Jesuit Excellence Tour (JET) is a series of recruitment events that take place throughout each academic year in twenty metro areas across the country. These events allow admissions staffs at Jesuit colleges and universities to jointly recruit targeted areas. Meanwhile, students who participate in the JET programs are provided simultaneous access to a number of Jesuit institutions, to which some of the students may not have had previous exposure. Check out the website (http://www.ajcunet.edu/institutions?Page=DTN-20130516094401) to download an informational packet about each of the 28 Jesuit institutions and for the tour schedule, which goes from January 25 to May 27.

Exploring College Options
This is a special recruitment program sponsored by the undergraduate admissions offices of Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and Stanford. Registration for Spring 2016 events will be available in the end of March. Please click on the link and then move your mouse over the state you are interested in to find the locations within that state, and the dates and times.  Online registration is available (http://www.exploringcollegeoptions.org/). Recruitment travel to Central and South America will be conducted during May 2016 (https://uadmissions.georgetown.edu/visiting/your-area/international-cities).

The Claremont Colleges Information Sessions
The Claremont Colleges will host an information session by admission representatives from Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, Pomona, and Scripps Colleges. Admission officers will discuss the benefits of attending each individual college, as well as the advantages of participating in one of the strongest and most cohesive college consortia in the nation. The program will include a media presentation, individual college information presentations, a general question-and-answer session, and time at the end of the program for you to speak individually with each college. Check the website (http://www.cmc.edu/admission/ccr.php) for a schedule of Claremont Colleges receptions and registration information. Upcoming receptions will be held in early April in DC, New York City and Boston.

Study Life USA
Student education fairs give you a chance to speak directly with representatives of US universities, language programs and summer schools. Click on this link for a list of international education fairs taking place during Spring 2016 in Latin America, Europe, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, and Middle East: http://studyusa.com/en/a/195/education-fairs.

Making the Most of a College Fair

Making the Most of a College Fair

Attending a college fair is a great way to connect with schools you are interested in and make a positive first impression on their representatives. However, there are some important things to keep in mind in order to make the most effective use of your time.

Be prepared! Register for the event ahead of time and make a list of the participating colleges you want to speak with. Make sure they have the major you are interested in! Show up promptly when the fair begins, to allow yourself enough time to visit all the booths of interest.

Ask good questions. Have a few (3 to 5) questions ready to ask each school. Make sure you are not asking generic questions that could easily be answered by looking at the school’s website. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about how colleges support their students and what the general culture of the school is. Ask about your chosen major, and if you are undecided, ask how they advise and help undecided students.

Describe yourself. Have a brief (one minute maximum) ‘speech’ prepared that includes a summary of your interests, goals, qualifications, and what you can bring to a particular school. This is a great way to introduce yourself to the representative and demonstrate your interest.

An informational sticker label or postcard can be very helpful. Consider creating large stickers or cards with your name, mailing address, date of birth, phone number, current school, expected graduation date, e-mail address, area of academic interest, and expected college start date. These can be handed to the representative or attached to their information sheet, saving you the time and energy it would take to hand write everything at each separate booth.

Form a route. When you arrive, get a map of the fair and mark all the schools you are interested in. Start at the ones with the shorter lines. Do not attempt to go to every booth, row by row!

Don’t forget your supplies. Bring a sturdy backpack to carry brochures and informational materials, pens, and a blank notebook. A snack and a bottle of water might be nice to have, too.

Take notes. If anything important or memorable stands out, write it down immediately after your visit, before you head to the next booth. There may be some details you could use in your college essays!

Be open to other options. If there are long lines for the schools you planned on checking out, why not stop by one you weren’t considering? You may be pleasantly surprised!

Appearances matter. Dress appropriately, approach college representatives with confidence and a smile, and be sure to make eye contact when speaking. Greet them with a firm handshake. Be mindful of the amount of time you spend conversing, especially when there is a line of students behind you. This is your chance to make a positive and memorable, although brief, impression.

Follow up. Get a business card from each representative, and send him or her an e-mail or thank you card after the fair if you are still interested in applying to his or her school.

After the fair, discuss it with your family. The most important thing you can do after attending a college fair is to debrief. Talk about what sounded good, or bad, about the schools you chose to visit with. Use this information to refine your college search criteria.

Arrive prepared, ask the right questions, make a good impression on the college representatives, and review the results afterwards. If you can accomplish all of these things, you will certainly be making the most of any college fair you choose to attend!

By Jilly Warner

See our lists of Fall 2015 College Fairs and Group Tours
International College Fairs and Group Tours
US College Fairs and Group Tours

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