So, you are at a college fair. Maybe it is your first time interacting with representatives from a college. If so, the first rule of thumb would be to prepare ahead of time. Do your research. Investigate colleges that you are interested in and become aware of the programs offered. You are much better off utilizing the unique and advantageous time talking to an admissions officer about questions that provide you with deeper insight that you might not be able to find online as easily. Here are a few strategic questions you can ask an admissions officer at a college fair:
- What is the academic vibe like on campus?
- Are there any art or music practice places available to non-majors?
- What are the strong majors and what are the weak majors?
- Is there any late-night shuttle service offered on the campus?
- How extensive and resourceful is the Career Services department?
- What is the freshmen to sophomore retention rate?
- Do financial aid packages typically stay the same after freshmen year?
- Describe the teaching style of the classrooms – are they innovative, discussion-based, lecture-oriented, or creative/project based?
- How easy is it to get around campus or off campus?
- What is the job placement rate for students who have graduated last year?
Stay away from yes/no questions or numerical questions such as “Do you think I have a chance of becoming admitted?”, “Are my grades good enough?”, “How many students were accepted last year?” Such questions are either not appropriate because they put the admissions representative on the spot, or the answer can be found online. Take advantage of face-to-face discussion and gather insight that is meaningful and valuable.
- Bring a bag or a folder to store notes, brochures, and pamphlets (you will receive many of them) .
- When introducing yourself, state your full name. It will resonate more fully with them.
- Get a business card from each admissions representative .
- Follow up with every person you meet via email and write them a thank you note. State your name, what you discussed, and how you found the interaction valuable.
- Ask for any additional insight or suggestions.
- Dress presentable. Smile. Be genuine. Be polite. Be gracious.