A college fair is a very exciting way to get started on the college selection process. Attending such an event gives you a great opportunity to learn about more than 100 specific colleges and programs all over the world. These free college fairs, sponsored by NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling), allow students and their families to meet face to face with admissions officers and to collect materials about all aspects of their colleges and the programs they offer. They also showcase vendors that provide all kinds of college-related resources.
Although these fairs can get very crowded since they are free and open to the public, and lines at each college’s table might be long, the experience is extremely valuable. You will be able to make connections, get business cards and brochures, ask questions, and learn about colleges that you may never even have heard of! Often, the admissions officers who visit your city or town will actually be the people who will review your application. What a great opportunity to make a first impression with a few good questions or demonstrated interest!
NACAC also offers fairs that are specifically aimed at students interested in performing and visual arts as well as several that focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). The fall schedule for STEM fairs is limited to six U.S. locations from September 29 to October 27.
There are also separate fairs for performing and visual arts. There are 26 fairs all over the country from late September through November. Often, there are pre-fair workshops as well.
Students can register online in advance for any of these fairs. This is very helpful since you will get a bar code that you can show to the admissions reps, who will then be able to send your contact information directly to their schools in which you are interested. That allows you to speak with the officers at each table without wasting time filling out contact cards. NACAC offers a great deal of information about venues, dates and registration as well as excellent advice about making the most of a college fair.