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How to rock a college fair, according to a Dartmouth Admissions Officer
Hello Hello! My name is Ali Duke, and, like Vanessa, I am a new AO in Dartmouth’s office. I am currently writing this post while overlooking the mountains on a beautiful, sunny day here in Denver, Colorado. My travel regions include Dallas/Ft. Worth & Austin, TX, Central/Western/Capitol/Upstate NY, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Colorado! A few fun facts that will help you get to know me a little bit better:
- Pasta is not only my favorite food, but also my way of life.
- I often feed into Vanessa’s horoscope hobby. Since we are both Virgo’s, we enjoy reading what to expect from the day in the morning together.
- I am originally from Vermont! I moved away for school, and have now returned to my home state to work at Dartmouth (Dartmouth is on the border of Vermont and New Hampshire, and I live on the Vermont side of the Connecticut River.
I have been traveling the past two weeks in Idaho, Utah, & Colorado, and meeting lots of fantastic high schoolers along the way. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to drive out to Aspen to take part in the Western Slope Fair, a massive college event that brings together 1500+ students from 82 different high schools on the Western slope of Colorado. It was a fantastic event, so well run, and so many great students were present. I did drive Independence Pass on my way out to Aspen (Have any of you driven the Pass? Yikes!) and got to see some serious snow, which made this Vermonter feel right at home. By the time I arrived at my hotel I was ready for a good long rest, pre-fair. After all, AO’s need sleep too (A luxurious 8 hours for me, please!) Of course, I always travel with my lone pine Dartmouth bag!
Taking part in a college fair is an invaluable experience for admission reps and students alike. It can be a bit overwhelming, but is a high volume, high impact way to meet lots of people in a short period of time. After reflecting on my time at the fair I came up with a few helpful tips for attending a college fair.
I hope this is helpful to any of your college fair attendees out there! A huge amount of time and effort goes into planning these events, so make the most of them!
So glad to check in with all of you! I am one of the chattiest people in the Office, so it is a little shocking it has taken me this long to get on the blog. I look forward to blogging again soon!
- No. 1
Create a list!
There can be hundreds of institutions present at a college fair, so it can be useful to have an idea of schools you want to make sure to hit beforehand. It will help streamline the experience and keep you focused.
- No. 2
Keep an open mind.
This may seem contradictory to no. 1 but the two go hand in hand. While you should have schools in mind, don’t be afraid to learn about somewhere you may never have heard of before. If there is a long line at one table, check out their neighbor! There are so many great schools out there, and you never know when you may come across a place that just clicks, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be somewhere you had on your list.
- No. 3
Have questions prepared to ask each rep.
With such rapid interactions at so many different locations having a standard set of base questions can be useful for comparing schools later on. The list doesn’t have to be extensive, but it should reflect what you feel some of your biggest priorities are in schools.
- No. 4
Don’t be afraid to follow up!
If there is somewhere you are particularly interested in ask for a business card, and email the rep with further questions. Because we are meeting so many people in such a short period of time do not worry if we don’t remember every detail of our conversation. I love having the opportunity to sit down and take the time to answer a student’s follow-up questions after a visit or fair.
- No. 5
If you are able to, arrive early.
It will be a bustling environment, and time really flies by. You want to ensure you have ample time to speak with all of the schools you are interested in, and some of them may have lines you have to wait in.