MoonPrep’s Tips for Attending College Fairs

Learn more about college fairs with Kristen Moon of MoonPrep.

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If you already have your list of potential schools, you may think it’s unnecessary to attend college fairs. But in fact, these fairs are a particularly efficient way to narrow down your college list. A college fair can show you the inside workings of a school, going above and beyond the practical and valuable information that you can find on the school’s website and giving you a better feel for what life would be like if you were a student.

University websites generally list available majors, describe a school’s facilities, display beautiful photos of the campus, and provide short biographies of the faculty. Recruiters, on the other hand, can answer your specific questions about the true “personality” of a school, which ultimately gives you a much clearer idea of your compatibility. If you have already submitted your applications and/or received acceptances, college fairs can provide additional insight on your selections. If you are just starting the college search, these events allow you to do your research on the schools you’re interested in before adding them to your list.

The biggest buzzword for college fairs is, again, efficiency. These events are perfect for feeling out multiple schools at once, and eliminating those that are not the right fit for you. College fairs give students an idea of individual schools’ expectations for their applicants, and tips for what to expect during an interview. Many schools specifically visit certain regions of the US each year, in order to be accessible to prospective students from all over the country. For this reason, recruiters like to see some genuine interest, and are looking for indications that you are seriously considering attending rather than just “window shopping.”

Even if you plan to go to a top-tier school, you should consider attending a college fair. This list outlines several popular annual events. Be aware that although attendance is free, these events do require registration ahead of time.

The Coast to Coast College Tour

This (literally) cross-country tour includes some very recognizable “name brand” colleges: Berkeley, Dartmouth, Northwestern, Princeton and Vanderbilt. These colleges have collaborated on their tour presentation, as they all practice “holistic admissions.” As defined by the AAMC (American Association of Medical Colleges): “Holistic review is a flexible, individualized way of assessing an applicant’s capabilities by which balanced consideration is given to experiences, attributes, and academic metrics and, when considered in combination, how the individual might contribute value.”

Get the details and check the map and dates of their stops here

Exploring Educational Excellence

This lineup includes Brown, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell and Rice, and this tour includes information sessions for prospective students and their families, as well as counselor sessions offering the opportunity to ask direct questions of admissions reps.

Get the most updated information about their offerings and tour locations here. 

8 of the Best Colleges

The 8 of the Best Colleges tour  is another collaborative collection comprising Claremont McKenna College, Colorado College, Connecticut College, Grinnell College, Haverford College, Kenyon College, Macalester and Sarah Lawrence College. This group of distinctive liberal arts colleges “place great value on student-faculty interaction, small classes, and challenging curricula” as self-described on the tour website. The tour itself offers presentations on each school, as well as the schools’ selective admissions criteria.

Learn more here. 

Exploring College Options

Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Penn, and Stanford present this tour annually, visiting all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and District of Columbia. Representatives from each university are on-hand to speak in turn about their institutions, and to answer your questions about the competitive admissions process.

Follow the tour and locate your nearest fair here.

Suncoast Ivy League College Fair

The last on our list contains Ivy League schools, and be sure to visit their website, because there was no 2017 tour, and 2018 has yet to be scheduled. In the meantime, their website encourages students to speak to their college counselors about their schools of interest.

Check the website regularly for updates.

Additional resources, information sessions and fairs can be found at these sites:

Colleges That Change Lives.

National Association for College Admission Counseling.

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