Fall is college fair season
College fairs are a great opportunity to get your student interested in the admissions process, while also providing them with valuable information needed to make informed college decisions.
It’s like online shopping: At a college fair, you can preview as many schools as you want with no strings attached and easily compare institutions within minutes, gaining invaluable insight along the way. Typically, at these college fairs, schools will have admissions representatives present with a surplus of informational loose-leaf handouts, brochures and presentations that can help answer any questions you have, thus making it an invaluable experience for those in attendance.
THE 2021 IQCCP COLLEGE FAIR Date: Monday, October 11 Time: 5:30 – 7 p.m. Location: Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, Urban Campus Admission: Free to the public Join more than 20 colleges and universities at the largest college fair in the Quad Cities to learn more about college programs, admissions requirements, financial aid, scholarships and more! Located at the Urban Campus in Downtown Davenport, the college fair is open to all area high school students and their parents. The event is organized by Scott Community College, St. Ambrose University and the Iowa Quad Cities area high schools, in conjunction with the Iowa Quad Cities College Program. Visit eicc.edu/IQCCPColleges to see a full list of participating colleges and universities.
Tishly Herrington, Assistant Director for Admissions and Youth Outreach at Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (EICC), explains that as helpful as the internet is, talking face-to-face with these college and university representatives provides a more customized experience, if you will, over ‘Googling’ the answers to your questions.
“It’s hard to over-prepare when it comes to researching colleges and the options you have,” said Herrington. “Even if you’ve been completely thorough in your search process, attending a college fair opens your possibilities to learn something new about the college, admissions requirements or the programs offered. This is your chance to ask your most pressing questions, in an accessible environment.”
Moreover, high school students in every grade can walk away with valuable knowledge at a college fair. Freshmen can wander, sophomores can identify some schools of interest, juniors can ask specific questions and seniors can make final selections or ask last minute questions.
There’s no better time than the present to start thinking about your academic goals and career plans. Take a minute to review our College Fair Guide and adequately prepare for this college fair season.
BEFORE THE FAIR
Meet with your school’s academic advisor.
Advisors can help with identifying majors and suggesting which colleges to visit at the fair. Make time to meet with them prior to the fair to go over your goals, needs and what exactly you’re looking for in a college so your advisor can make informed recommendations.
Plan your timeline.
After receiving some suggestions from your academic advisor, make a plan for which booths you’d like to visit. If your list is long, make sure to allot enough time to visit all the schools you’re interested in. Plan to visit your top-choice colleges first, then leave time to visit other schools of interest toward the end of the fair.
Compile a list of questions to ask.
Make a list of those questions pertinent to you and don’t be afraid to ask them. This is your chance to get good information straight from the source.
Heather Evans, Admissions Counselor at Clinton Community College (CCC), says that creating a list of questions you want to ask college representatives is one of the most important steps in preparing for a college fair.
“First, students need to ask whether their program of interest is offered at the college,” said Evans. “Then, students should dive into those questions they feel would be most valuable to their college experience—athletics, clubs and organizations, small or large student population, class size, scholarship opportunities—and ask college reps about each of the pieces that really matter to them.”
Here are a few examples of questions that students can ask:
- What are the support services I can expect as a student at your school?
- What is the community around the campus like?
- What financial aid packages and scholarships does the college offer?
- Does the college help with career placement after graduation?
- What security arrangements do you have in place on campus?
DURING THE FAIR
Bring a notebook and pen.
During the fair, you’ll likely be inundated with a lot information in a short amount of time. As you’re talking with college reps, take notes and track the important details.
Pro tip: Being able to recall those recorded details in follow-up conversations with the college is impressive and can come in handy when visiting the campus or writing your application essays.
Get on their mailing list.
Stay in contact by giving colleges your contact information! We suggest leaving a completed interest card with admissions reps or come to the fair with pre-printed, self-stick address labels. Make sure to get the rep’s contact information, too, in case you have any follow-up questions after the fair.
“If the college fair is using any technology, like StriveScan to capture contact information for future communications, I recommend trying to register for the fair ahead of time,” said Kelsey King, Admissions Counselor at Scott Community College (SCC). “This will save you time and allow you to talk to more college reps, as they can simply scan your StriveScan barcode and see your information in real-time.”
Pro-tip: Your email address is a professional representation of who you are at college fairs. If it’s something you wouldn’t share with a grandparent, don’t share it with college admissions teams.
Leave time for browsing.
After you’ve visited with all the colleges on your list, you may want to visit a few that weren’t.
Amy Herrig, Admissions Coordinator for Adult Programs at EICC, knows from experience that many prospective students who attend college fairs are pleasantly surprised by the options that are out there.
“This is especially important if you are undecided on a program,” said Herrig. “Try to talk to as many reps as possible and find what financial aid options and opportunities can accompany specific programs. It’s an amazing thing—you may just uncover your educational path by meeting the right person.”
This is the time to conduct yourself as a mature, college-ready individual. Remember: First impressions count! Make it a good one.
Even if you have several friends you plan on attending the college fair with, don’t go to every booth together. You’ll likely have your own questions to ask and will want the rep’s undivided attention. Plus, there’s plenty of time to compare notes after the fair.
Pro-tip: Represent yourself with pride. Colleges want to see students excited about their education and their plans for the future. Bringing a parent-guardian with you is encouraged, but remind those with you that you still need to take the lead.
AFTER THE FAIR
Go over all the information you collected.
After the fair, find time to look through all the brochures and information you collected. Decide which schools you’d like to research further and which are taking a back seat.
Once you have a short-list of the colleges you want to further pursue, follow up with the rep. This is a great time to ask any additional questions you may have, thank him or her for their time and schedule a campus visit.
“After attending a college fair, scheduling a campus visit to the college you’re interested in may be the most crucial step,” Herrington said. “Taking the time to actually experience campus, see the sights, and talking to students and faculty can help immensely when making a final decision.”
Pro-tip: The faster you follow-up with admissions and express interest in the college, the better. It helps to build a relationship with the rep to ensure you’re on track to meet all the College’s admissions requirements.
Questions? Contact the admissions team at Eastern Iowa Community Colleges at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us toll-free at 1-888-336-3907.