It’s that time of year again. Homeroom bell has rung, pencils are sharpened, and if you’re a junior, you’re starting to think about your college prospects, while if you’re a senior, you’re busy narrowing down schools of choice.
You already receive endless pamphlets in the mail and emails in your inbox. You have the SATs to study for, and grades to keep up. Should you really make time for a college fair?
These five reasons say “yes.”
- Find a starting point. If you have no idea what sort of college you might like to attend, a college fair is a good place to start. These events bring together multiple colleges and universities under one roof, so you can attend one event and get an idea of what’s out there without conducting aimless Internet searches or passively reading whatever brochures arrive in your mail.
- Get more bang for your buck. Visiting college campuses—whether to collect information and/or get face time with admissions officers—can be both time-consuming and expensive. College fairs bring the schools “to you”; therefore, they can be more convenient and cost-effective than going on multiple campus visits.
- Get answers to your questions—fast. If you’ve already investigated a number of schools, you’ve presumably learned enough about each to know what you don’t know. Google is great, but asking a college representative in real time is better, and oftentimes faster.
- Discover schools you may not have considered. You may think you’ve already considered every school that could possibly be of interest to you, but if so, think again. According to the US Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, more than 7,200 accredited colleges and universities exist in the United States as of 2012—and with enrollment numbers increasing every year, that number is only likely to rise. Therefore, attending a college fair can expose you to institutions you’ve never even heard of . . . and one of them might just be the college of your dreams!
- Earn “extra credit.” So you’ve done your research, you’ve whittled down your list, and you know where you intend to apply. Now it’s time to make yourself stand out. And believe it or not, colleges keep track of how much interest prospective students express in attending their institution. Therefore, attending a college fair and getting face time with a college representative from your school of choice can actually make a difference in your likelihood of being accepted to that school. Call it “extra credit” if you will, but in the competitive landscape of college admissions, every little bit counts!