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Students at a University St. Thomas booth at a college fair.

As an admissions counselor, my favorite thing to do is attend college recruitment fairs. It allows me to meet students like you and learn more about your interests. I see high school students learning about opportunities they never knew they had and getting excited about the journey to college. To help you make the most of a high school college fair, here are some tips you can use in your college search:

How to Prepare Before a College Fair

Do your research

Before you go to college fairs, ask your high school counselors for a list of colleges attending the fair and choose the ones you want to consider. Check out their list of majors so you know if they offer your area of interest.

Create a professional email address

It should be different from the one you use with friends and family. Make sure it is not an embarrassing one because admissions counselors will see it.

Bring something to carry materials

You will receive tons of pamphlets, pens and business cards so be prepared to carry them throughout the visit.Students doing online research in preparation for college fair.

Register for college fairs online or print out labels with your contact information.

You’ll be asked to fill out a contact card at almost every college’s booth; having labels handy will speed up the process. Make sure those labels include the following information:

  • name
  • high school
  • high school graduating year
  • major(s) of interest
  • phone number
  • home address
  • student email address

Some fairs even provide a barcode that the admissions counselors can simply scan.Student preparing a list of questions for college fair.

Make a list of questions to ask

Student making ListWhen talking with college representatives, your goal is to get answers to questions that are specific to your interests and needs. Because the time you’ll have to speak with each admissions counselor will be very limited, don’t ask questions that can easily be answered through the college’s website.

Here are some to consider:

  • What makes your programs related to these majors unique?
  • What support is available in finding internships?
  • Are there specific admissions requirements for individual majors?

What to Do at a College Fair

Students talking to a University of St. Thomas admissions representative.

Be prepared to speak with the admissions counselor

Make sure introduce yourself. Explain why you are interested in that school and ask the questions you prepared. Don’t forget to pick up the counselor’s business card in case you have questions later.

Be adventurous

Don’t just talk to the “well-known” colleges. Visit with a few you’ve never heard of before or don’t know much about. You may be surprised how much smaller universities have to offer.

Student taking notes at college fair.

Take notes

You’ll speak to a lot of colleges and it can be overwhelming. After speaking with a counselor, jot down some notes in your phone or in a notebook. If you don’t do this, all the information you gathered may all blur together by the time you get to the end of the event.

Follow-Up: What to Do After a College Fair

Review the materials you received and determine which universities you’re interested in.

– Send a thank you email to the admissions counselors you met. This will help you build a relationship with the counselor and benefit you in your future college admissions process.

– Schedule campus visits with the universities you feel are a good fit.

– Regularly check the email address you created for the college fair. Colleges will send emails about upcoming campus preview days and information specific to your areas of academic interest.

If you have additional questions or would like more insight about how to best prepare for college recruitment fairs, find my contact info on The University of St. Thomas website.

By: Jessica Correll

About the Author — UST Admissions Counselor

AvatarThe University of St. Thomas understands that the application and admissions process can be challenging for first-time freshmen. To help you, we have designated admissions counselors to guide you through your application. You can contact your counselor with questions regarding UST’s academic degrees and programs, how to apply, scholarships and financial aid, university housing or any other concerns.

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