A Fair to Remember: Getting Organized After a College Event
I hope you are enjoying fall and settling back into the rhythm of the school year! Like you, our admissions staff is head back to school all over the country, literally! All throughout the fall we ship out to all corners of the country and the world to visit with prospective students and their families. For some of us, that may mean having the opportunity to take part in a college fair, info sessions, meeting you at high schools, and more. (ICYMI, check out my post here for how to rock a college fair.)
While your time is certainly well spent exploring the endless possibilities for life after high school, attending all these different events can be a bit of a whirlwind. So, when you get home, how can you help yourself process all of the information, and what steps should you take from there?
- No. 1
Consolidate your information
You will undoubtedly wind up with glossy brochures, business cards, and maybe even a pen or two from every college under the sun. You may have taken notes, you may have parents or friends who took notes for you. Put all of this information together in one place—even if you don’t think you need it now, you may find yourself saying “I wonder where that brochure from X went…” down the road.
- No. 2
Compare and contrast
Take time to actually digest the information you received, and look at what different places, programs, academics, professors, etc. each school offers. This may eventually help you narrow down your list and get serious about the schools you can truly see yourself attending— and you can use the materials as a guide to see what you might interested in researching further on schools' websites.
- No. 3
At a college fair or high school visit, you are likely receiving a lot of information in a short period of time. This can mean you walk away with more questions or things to consider than you arrived with. If you didn’t receive a business card from the rep at the fair take a look at their website, and see if you can track down their email. Reps are always going to be happy to take time to answer your questions, or point you in the direction of someone who can. **Pro-tip: take a look at the website to see if you can find an answer before emailing a rep, it can make your conversations a bit more meaningful as they dig below the surface.
- No. 4
Plan a real life visit
If the school is somewhere close by, or if you/your family may be in the area in the near future, check on the school’s website and visit calendar. While a fair can be great for introducing you to the college, a campus visit will give you a better taste for what the community, students, and life on campus could actually be like. If you are not able to physically get to campus, see if there is a student you could speak with, or take a virtual tour! Many schools also travel across the country; they may have an information session or high school visit in your area.
- No. 5
Keep an open mind and keep researching
While you probably walked away with lots of valuable information, not every school in the country will have the chance to do an event near you. It is fantastic if you found some places you think could feel like home, but always keep in mind there are others out there, too. Just because you went to one college fair doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take future opportunities to learn about other places, whether they are schools coming to your high school, campus visits, or even future fairs.