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Suniti's Advice Corner

How to Prepare for College and Education Fairs

Posted by Sybil St. Hilaire on Mon, Oct 28, 2013

College Fair TipsI am pleased to bring you another guest blog from Study in the USA. Enjoy!

Education and college fairs are a great resource for students and their parents. Attending fairs allows students a chance to speak directly with representatives of U.S. colleges, universities, boarding schools, summer schools and language programs. You can visit each school's booth, talk with people who teach and work there, and take home brochures and school applications. 

Study in the USA participates in dozens of fairs during both the spring and fall fairs seasons, so we asked some of our fairs representatives what advice they have for students planning to attend an international education fair. Here are the guidelines they shared:

Before the Fair 

    1. Spend some time looking at the fair'sTips for education fair list of participating schools (the fair organizers usually post this list on their website prior to the fairs.)
    2. Decide on the booths you would like to visit - there won't be time to speak with everyone.
    3. Research the schools that are of interest to you. The fair representatives are a valuable resource, so you'll want to save their expertise for the questions that you are not able to find the answers to online. The representatives are usually trying to talk with as many students as possible, so they will have a limited amount of time to speak with you. 
    4. Prepare a list of specific questions you would like to ask at the fair. These should be questions that are specific to your needs and interests. The time you will have to speak with each representative may be limited, so try not to ask questions that can be easily answered through research on the school's website or in literature. If you can't find the answers in your online research, or if you would like to have the information you've found online elaborated on, these are the perfect questions to bring to the fairs.
    5. Keep a notebook. You may want to keep a notebook and compare notes with your friends before and after the fair. This will allow you to make the most of your time at the fair and to come away with the most valuable information possible.
    6. Attend a virtual fair. One way to research and prepare for your college education is through virtual fairs such as CollegeWeekLive. CollegeWeekLive is an online college fair that hosts events, live chats and "How To" presentations via video year round. You can attend a CollegeWeekLive fair from anywhere in the world as long as you have access to a computer - all you need to do is sign up. By attending one of these virtual fairs you can not only learn more about the process of finding a school that is right for you, you can also use virtual fairs as practice for when you attend an international education fair in person. 
    7. Define your financial needs. As a student, you will need to take all living expenses - not just school tuition costs - into consideration. The following should be taken into account:College fair tips

      1. School application fees 
      2. Student visa fees 
      3. Admissions & language testing costs
      4. Air fare
      5. Other transportation costs
      6. Accommodations costs
      7. Daily meal costs
      8. Recreation costs

Before attending a fair, try to estimate what your total education costs will be so you will know whether or not you need to ask questions about scholarships and financial assistance. 

At the Fair

    1. Visit the booths you have previously selected.
    2. Introduce yourself (and your parents, if they are with you) to the school representative and ask your questions. 
    3. If you aren't sure what to ask, let the representative know what your education and financial needs are and they should be able to guide you in the right direction. The representatives are also sensitive to the fact that this may be your first time at a fair, so there's no need to be nervous.
    4. Gather brochures, magazines, view books and other materials at the booths.
    5. Attend information sessions, workshops, lectures, etc., at the fairs. These are very important as many of your basic questions can be answered during these sessions.
    6. Important tip: When you talk to a school representative at the fair, he or she will likely ask you to fill out an information card. In order to save time, bring along pre-printed address labels that include your first and last name, mailing address, phone number, email address and major interest. This will save you a lot of valuable fair time!
    7. Be respectful of the representative's time and of your fellow students. Try not to hold up the line for too long if there are people waiting behind you. If you have a general question, allow the representative to answer you in a way that includes those waiting behind you.
What to do at a college fair?

After the Fair

    1. Review information, such as Study in the USA magazines and school catalogs
    2. Send an email or a thank you note to the school representative to show you're interested in the school and as a way of obtaining additional information if needed. 
    3. Apply to the schools that best match your needs!

International Students: If you have questions about fairs or about studying in the United States, you can ask them on Study in the USA’s Facebook Page or on our Advisor Page.

Best of luck to you!

Get the most out of your college fair experience

 Image Sources: Courtesy of Study in the USA

Tags: For Students, For Parents

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