As a high school student (especially juniors and seniors), preparing for a college fair is important. For high school counselors, college resource counselors, and teachers, preparing students for a college fair is equally as important. As a former university admissions counselor, I can tell you I have seen and heard a lot of really immature things. My admissions colleagues and I could easily write a storybook. Let’s jump in…
First, determine what type of school you’re looking for; close to home or out of state, public or private, small, medium, or larger, religious affiliation, coed or not, residential or commuter, etc. The answers to these questions will help you decide which university representatives to talk to. Try out College Board’s College Search.
Second, be realistic about what majors you are interested in. If you don’t like math and science, then a degree in biology or pre-med is not a good fit. Do your homework! If there is a career you are interested in, Google it and see what information you can learn. A quick search can usually provide an overview of the career; what a typical day looks like, educational requirements, work environment, salary, etc.
Third, know your GPA and class rank. It helps admissions counselors have a detailed conversation about admission requirements with you. If you don’t know this information, stop by your high school counselors or college resource counselors’ office.
Don’t be disrespectful to university representatives. Often times they are the ones making decisions on your admission status and can greatly influence the outcome.
Do have an engaging conversation about items not found in the brochure (i.e. culture of the university, best type of admissions candidate, etc.). Get the representative’s business card and follow up with a thank you email. This little extra effort goes a long way. I can count on 1 hand the number of times I was thanked after a college fair (by email or note) and I remember all their names.
Don’t ask if you can major in sports or girls/guys. It’s not funny even though you may think it’s cool. It shows immaturity.
Do ask about particular majors you are interested in (research ahead of time or scan the university brochure). If you are interested in sports, ask about the teams, the potential to be on one, or even talk about intramural and club teams.
Don’t let your parents/guardians do all the talking or look to them to respond when a representative asks you a question. It’s great they are attending the college fair with you, but you are going to be an adult soon and have to speak for yourself.
Do have a conversation with them ahead of time to determine what information is important to find out and be prepared to ask those questions of the representative. I’m not saying parents shouldn’t ask questions, but they should never dominate the conversation.
Don’t ask “Why should I go here?” Representatives don’t know what you are looking for in a college or university and this provides them no clues at what information you are seeking.
Do ask specific questions like, “What sets your university apart from others?” or “What does __ degree offer, that other universities with the same degree may not?” or “I’m interested in __ career, what degree would help me get there?”
Don’t ask if it’s a party school. Again, not funny even if you think it is.
Do ask about co-curricular activities such as student organizations, study abroad programs, honors college, whether the school is a commuter campus or not, or what resources/services are available on campus (i.e. recreation center, student union, athletic events).
Don’t steal pens and other giveaways from the table. Even though you think you’re being slick, representatives see you. Plus they may be running low and you just took their last pen.
Do have a conversation with the representative about their institution and then ask if you may take a pen or giveaway. Most of the time they are more than willing to give you one of each!
Don’t ask “Do you have financial aid?” Yes, schools offer financial aid. This question doesn’t provide you valuable information about financial aid.
Do ask specifics about aid like “What process do you use for financial aid?” or “When is the best time for me to apply for scholarships?” or “How many students receive some form of financial assistance at your university (grants, loans, scholarship, etc.)?”
Other questions to ask university representatives:
When are application deadlines?
When do you recommend applying?
How long does the typical application process take?
What do you recommend doing first after being accepted? (i.e. apply for housing, submit FAFSA, meet with an academic advisor, etc.)
I hope this guide helps you get started and prepares you for your first college fair. As a former admissions counselor, I can tell you the individuals behind the tables are passionate about helping students who want to help themselves. Give us the ability (through engaging conversation) to do so! Don’t pass up the perfect opportunity to make a good impression. Until next post…xoxo Becca
This is the first post back from my impromptu hiatus. To be honest, every Monday and Friday I’ve cringed a little knowing I had not put together a post. There are a ton of things that have factored into this. The two biggest being lack of motivation and feeling discouraged.
Although this blog was started to be my creative space, it was also intended to connect with people. I absolutely love when someone comments on the blog or on the varies social media accounts connected with Lexi & Lady. Without this interaction I wonder why in the world I am pouring so much work into content that goes unnoticed. Occasionally I have a friend or colleague say to me “I love reading your blog.” I’m always shocked because I never know who is reading my content and if they are enjoying it.
Today is simply a random rambling about life and things I’ve been thinking about.
Like most of us, work takes up the majority of our time and energy which is why I’m chatting about it first. My boss has taken on new job responsibilities which requires him to be out of the office often and for extended periods of time. This adds a lot of extra responsibilities to my to-do list. I don’t mind because I like a full plate, but at the end of the day I find myself drained from the constant bombardment of questions from everyone. This lack of energy has also contributed to my lack of blog posts. For awhile I was doing really well with single-tasking, but that’s out the window at this point.
Since we have been an office of 2 staff members (my boss and I) for so long I have faced nearly every student situation imaginable. It is hard to train our new employees on every scenario they may face. My department is very much a learn as you go environment because of the nature of what we do. I often feel like I am failing to prepare them properly, but like I said, it’s a learn as you go thing. That’s how my boss and I learned too.
Earlier this month I had the flu and an infection. It was terrible! It has probably been 20 years since I had the flu and I don’t wish that upon anyone. I still have a lingering cough and overall yucky feeling which is keeping me from the gym. Might cough up a lung if I attempt cardio or any of the fitness classes. I certainly don’t feel like myself without the gym so I’m hoping to get back to that schedule next week. Prior to getting sick I was also clean eating which helps me feel 10x better. I love this clean eating taco recipe. Since being sick I haven’t stayed true to my clean eating diet and desperately need to jump back on it. Health and wellness are so important to me.
The hubs and I are following Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps. So far our journey has been pretty positive. Having a budget that we have both developed certainly helps. Dave classifies people as “nerds” or “free spirits.” Nerds are those who like the numbers, the spreadsheets, the plan, whereas the free spirit doesn’t want anything to do with the numbers and tends to forget the plan. Read more here. For your reference…I am Type A aka the “nerd” haha I am looking forward to paying off my student loans from grad school 🙂 Hence the lack of fashion posts…new clothes aren’t in the budget.
Up until last week I had never heard the term underemployment, but I listened to an Instagram Live which mentioned the term and I of course Googled it and found this article. Underemployment “can include workers who possess more formal education, higher-level skills, and more extensive work experience than the job requires, workers who are involuntarily employed in a field different than their formal education, workers who are involuntarily employed in a temporary, part-time, or intermittent employment, and workers who earn 20% or less than their previous jobs.” The article goes on to explain that because underemployed are still employed the general public doesn’t consider this to be an issue. However, being underemployed psychologically damages individuals who have “rationalize that they’re broken. It becomes a self-perpetuating cycle of shame, hopelessness, and motivation.” This article certainly lead me to think about the millions of people impacted. Truly sad that the world isn’t able to recognize someones talents and experience and reward it.
What’s next? Like I said at the beginning, this is a place I like to connect with people and I haven’t felt that that is being accomplished. I’m not sure what to do to make it more of a community, but I’m open to suggestions and feedback. On my phone is a notes section with all the things I want to write about (probably 70 ideas). Maybe I’ll just pick one and go for it. Looking ahead, mid-November I’ll be sharing my first guest post collaboration. I’m really excited to have Taylor write a post for us.
Until next post…xoxo Becca