How to be a College Fair Pro

Fall is here, and that means it’s travel season for our office! Over the next few months, we’ll be visiting just about every state in the country for college fairs and meeting many students and their families – and hopefully you! Be sure to follow PUC’s Facebook and Twitter accounts for reminders about when we’ll be attending a college fair in your area.

In the meantime, here are five tips to help you make the most out of the next college fair you attend.

1. Do Your Research
You should have a list of colleges attending the fair beforehand, and spend time looking at the websites for the schools you’re interested in. You don’t want to waste time by asking school reps basic questions a simple Google search can answer. Come up with questions you can ask each school that can help you discern whether it might be a good fit for you. Ask about things like social events, ministry opportunities, and residence life to get an idea of what it’s like to be a student there.

2. Plan Ahead
Filling out inquiry card after inquiry card takes up valuable time you could be spending talking with representatives. One smart thing I’ve seen students do is make labels listing their contact information and use the sticker on inquiry cards at each booth. If you try this, include your name, address, preferred phone number, email, high school, graduation year, and what major(s) you’re considering. This is also much easier for admissions offices to process instead of trying to decipher your handwriting, which can quickly get messy if you’re in hurry, and you want to be sure you actually receive the information you’re requesting!

3. Make a Good Impression
I’m not saying you need to show up wearing a three-piece suit, but think about the image you’re putting out there when you attend a college fair. Even though this is a casual setting, you wouldn’t believe the things I’ve seen! Put a little effort into your appearance and make sure you leave a good impression.

4. Snag Business Cards
If you’re like me, hours later you will think of questions you should have asked but didn’t, which can be infuriating! Even if you plan ahead and have a list of questions, you may think of follow up ones about what you discussed with a rep, so make sure you take business cards from reps for schools you’re interested in to contact them later if you need to.

5. Keep Your Options Open
After you’ve visited all the schools on your list, consider stopping by some of the other booths – you might discover a school that interests you that you haven’t heard about. You probably won’t be able to thoroughly look at each school at the fair, but try to stop by at least a few booths for schools you hadn’t previously considered. You never know what you might find!

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