Central Dauphin High School College Fair 2016/2017Upcoming College Fairs*Please see the PACAC Website for a complete list of PA College Fairs.How do I prepare for a college fair?And what should I do while attending a college fair?Do your homeworkFind out what schools will be attending the college fair and do some research on the ones that interest you. “A lot of times there are over 100 at any one fair,” said E.J. Smith, an admissions counselor at Lebanon Valley College, “and it’s difficult to go up to each and every one.”
Take the time to go online and find out about what each school offers and which ones look good to you. This can help you to narrow your search and be more focused at the fair. Also, showing you’ve done some research will impress the school representatives.. “Get as much general information as you can so you can zero in on specific information,” said Bruce Diefenderfer, regional director of Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Authority.
Start attending fairs as early as possibleCheck out college fairs as soon as you and your family start to think about college. Smith recommends checking them out as early as your sophomore year, but added that junior year is a good time as well. Senior year isn’t too late, he said, but puts you on more of a rushed schedule. Starting early “makes it much easier to deal with all aspects of college admissions,” Smith said. “You have time to sit down and really go over intricacies of it.”
Know yourselfBy that we mean, know what kind of a school you’re looking for. Even if you’re not sure what you want to major in yet, know what your interests are and what you excel in. Know what your class ranking is, as well as your grades, GPA and SAT scores. Know what you want to get out of college, both socially as well as academically. All of that information will help the college representative determine if his or her school is right for you or not. “It always impresses me if student has an idea of a major in mind,” Smith said.
Be ready to fill out lots of cardsMost colleges hand out student inquiry cards for you to fill out at these functions. Smith recommends bringing preprinted labels with your name, address and name of your high school on them so you don’t get writer’s cramp. Even if you don’t do that, definitely fill out the card while you’re there rather than take it home to mail out later. Chances are it will inevitably get lost amid a the pile of papers on your desk.
Bring a penAlso, bring some paper or a notebook. And perhaps a bag or backpack to hold any brochures or other information you receive.
Ask questionsThis is a good opportunity to meet and talk with admission officers and counselors about the schools you’re interested in. Now is not the time to be shy.
Give yourself timeDon’t rush through the fair. You want to have enough time to talk with as many representatives as possible. If you have a narrow list of colleges and have the extra time, talk to some of the schools you aren’t as familiar with yet.
Attend seminarsSome college fairs offer sessions on topics like financial aid and the admissions process that can be useful in your decision-making process. Attend them if you can. “It’s worth the effort to get to them,” Diefenderfer said.
Remember the college representative’s nameGet the person’s business card. Then follow up afterward with a note or letter if the person works for a school you want to learn more about.
Dress appropriatelyYou don’t have to wear a suit and tie, but you shouldn’t show up in ripped jeans and a risque T-shirt, either. “Dress as if you were trying to show respect and gain someone’s respect,” Smith said. You want to make the most of this first impression.
Don’t be afraid“We’re not going to ask you to do calculus,” Smith said. “We want to learn about you and inform you about who we are and what we have to offer.”QUESTIONS TO ASKWhat are the admission requirements?
What is the school’s admissions policy?
How many students attend the college?
What is the student/faculty ratio?
What is the average class size?
How many students live on campus?
Do most students live on campus or commute?
What types of housing facilities are available?
Is the school rural, urban or suburban?
Is public transportation available?
What meal plans are offered?
Is there a cafeteria for commuting students?
What are the course requirements?
Does the school offer majors in my interests?
Can I change my major after the first year?
Are internships, co-ops, study abroad and/or research work available?
What types of financial assistance are available?
What percentage of students receive financial aid?
What types of social, cultural, academic and athletic activities are available?
Does the school assist students in finding summer, part-time and full-time jobs?
What support services are available for incoming students?
What academic support systems are available for students?
Does the school give credit for AP courses?
Does each room have computer access?