How to make the best use of your time at the upcoming fair:


1. Do research ahead of time and choose 3-5 schools of interest.

Check out their social media to get a better feel for each institution.


2. Be willing to speak to representatives on your own.

If you attend with parents or friends, branch out and speak to representatives one-on-one and then compare notes after the event. If you choose to visit tables with others, be friendly and try to be the first to introduce yourself.


3. Bring a bag with writing utensils and a notebook.

Take a backpack or tote bag for giveaways. Prepare sticky labels with your information: name, street address, phone number, email address, high school, and date of birth. Business cards tend to get lost and labels will speed up the process of leaving your contact information on a hard-copy list.


4. Identify who you want to meet and make a plan.

College fairs are usually busy atmospheres, get to know the lay of the land upon arrival. Are schools arranged in alphabetical order? Consider starting at the end and working your way back to front if lines are long at the entrance. Are there scheduled presentations or additional rooms to check out? Is there a place to register for a barcode? Barcodes make it easy to leave your digital information with representatives. Consider making it a background on your phone during the event.


5. Pay attention to appearance.

Greet representatives with a smile, eye contact, firm handshake, and introduce yourself. Try to make a lasting impression, you might be meeting the person who reviews your application. Share some information about what you’re looking to study and ask about their programs. When finished, thank them for their time and ask for a business card to follow up with a thank you email later.


6. Have a list of 3-5 questions ready to go.

Skip questions with answers that are easy to find by a Google search or FAQ on school website. If questions are specific and the representative doesn’t have an answer, ask for the appropriate person and contact information. Consider writing questions that might help answer essay questions.


7. Relax and have fun!

The point is to find the right fit for you. Make your own notes of impressions of or great conversations with representatives.