Most college fairs are still online instead of student’s preferred medium of in-person. However, there are many benefits to online college fairs including not having to spend half a day at a convention center while students stroll through hall after hall to speak to college admission officers.
Additional benefits include calendar flexibility allowing the student to visit more colleges than usual, and the chance to attend specialty college fairs such as STEM and Visual & Performing Arts that were only held in a half dozen locations – in a virtual world, anyone can easily attend.
Online fairs will post a list of attending schools and sessions in advance, allowing students to create a viewing schedule of colleges and times which are convenient for them. By mapping out their entire experience, students will avoid exiting the virtual fair only to realize that they forgot to e-visit two of your favorite schools.
Know Before You Go
Fairs are hosted by different organizers so each will have different procedures for registering, joining, and asking questions. Students should bookmark the institutions that interest them, sign up for special programs, and if possible, schedule a one-on-one meeting with an admission officer. Make use the fair’s virtual scheduler or create your own document listing the events you intend to join. And check this list often!
Fall 2021 College Fair Line-up
1. National Association of College Admission Counselors (NACAC) As one of the largest organizations to produce college fairs across the county, NACAC’s website is a good place to start to see what events are coming up. A quick check of Virtual College Fairs shows four major events this fall: October 24, 2021 College Fair 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM PDT November 2, 2021 Arts & STEM College Fair 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM PDT November 14, 2021 College Fair 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM PDT
2. Christian College Fairs NACCAP (North American Coalition for Christian Admissions Professionals) developed BLUEPRINT as a resource for the Christian community. NACCAP collaborates with hundreds of Christian Universities and Colleges in order to promote Christian higher education. Check here for upcoming Christian College Fairs.
3. College2Career Fairs Founded by Bob Tyra with the belief that higher education helps students find their purpose that includes a pathway to a meaningful career. Even though students may not have a specific career in mind, the fairs are arranged into broad pathways with colleges grouped by career paths such as Engineering, Healthcare, Education, and Business. Check here for the next virtual College2Career Fair.
4. STEAM Career Showcase for Students with Disabilities While not a college fair, we wanted to share this excellent resource for students with learning and/or physical disabilities. The 9th annual STEAM Career Showcase for Students with Disabilities is a free virtual event for learners in grades 6-12. At the showcase, learnings will have an opportunity to connect with role models with disabilities who have thriving careers in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM). Participants will learn from the keynote speaker and panelists about their personal journeys and their strategies for success. Attendees will gain practical knowledge that they can apply to their interests and future career paths. ASL interpretation and live captions will be provided for the entire program and for each break out room. The event will be held on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 from 1:00pm – 3:30pm. Click here to register.
1. Ask Questions Not Easily Found On the College’s Website Admission counselors attend college fairs to help students with any questions they may have about their school to see if it may be a good fit for you. Here are a few questions to help you uncover key information.
What kinds of students do well/thrive at your school?
Where do students hang out on campus?
Do students mostly live on or off campus?
What do residential students do on weekends?
What is your favorite tradition that the college has?
What academic programs are the most popular at your college?
How would you describe the academic pressure and workload?
How does your career planning department compare to other colleges/universities?
What are the faculty like and how accessible are they outside of class?
2. Take Notes! Students should always have a pad of paper and pen, or a note app opened on their iPad or other device, so they can take notes of what they learned about the college from the Admissions Officer. Likewise, students should always make note of the Admission Officer’s name and title. These notes are not only helpful to a student as they assess whether the school is a good fit for them, it also gives them important detail to add toe their “Why Us” college specific essays come application time fall of senior year.
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This blog was written Janice Royal, MA. She is the Founder and CEO of Royal College Consulting.
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