Student Life

College Fairs: Virtual Edition

How to visit a college in 2020: Discover where you can find virtual college fairs and tips to approaching each visit.

Student Contributor, Aleena Islam

October 06, 2020

College Fairs: Virtual Edition
In 2020 fashion, college fairs are among the list of many things that have moved to a virtual format.
In 2020 fashion, college fairs are among the list of many things that have moved to a virtual format. In years past, college fairs were usually in-person events filled with representatives from a number of colleges. Of course, college fairs today look a bit different from those of the past. But the primary purpose of these fairs is the same: to be a helpful resource for students seeking more information about college. College fairs are different from the virtual information sessions of specific colleges. College fairs have multiple colleges attending (usually upwards of 50) with a mix of schools that you’ve probably heard of, as well as some you are not familiar with. Fairs are a great place to learn more about the schools you’re already interested, and possibly discovering another university you can see yourself applying to!

Where Can I Find College Fairs?

The NACAC National College Fairs website is a great resource to find virtual fairs. They are offering three college fairs within the next month. Check out which colleges will be in attendance and sign up here.
• October 12th, 2020 • October 18th, 2020 • November 8th, 2020 Here are some other websites to use to find college fairs:
College Week Live
This website offers live chat sessions with some schools.
College Fairs Online
Create an account for this site and sign up for one of the fairs that are occurring over the next month. This site divides up colleges by region, so this is a great tool to find colleges within a certain area.
Iowa Association for College Admission Counseling
This site is offering a college fair on October 22nd from 1-3 p.m. and October 25th from 4-6 p.m.
If you’re looking for some other college fairs, a quick Google search can also turn up quite a few virtual opportunities. In addition, many high schools offer college fairs for certain colleges, so be sure to check your high school website!

Who Should Attend a College Fair?

Any high school student should consider attending a college fair. I personally attended a college fair when I was a freshman in high school. It was my first real introduction to many schools beyond just my state college. For high school freshman and sophomores, college fairs serve more as introductions to different colleges—a way to explore your options and to get a feel for what you want in a college. Juniors and seniors have the most to gain from college fairs, as juniors are likely beginning to build a college list and finalizing it in their senior year. College fairs are a truly amazing way to find out about colleges you may have never heard of and places you might want to add to your list. In addition to learning more about colleges, you can also show your interest in a college by attending a college fair. Some schools track demonstrated interest, which is simply a measure of how interested students seem in a specific school. Many college representatives track the students who visit their booth; by being especially engaged with the admissions reps, you can showcase yourself in a positive light!

Approaching a Virtual College Fair

With any college fair, virtual or physical, there are a few solid rules to utilize when approaching it. Take a look at which colleges will be at the fair and make a list of which schools you are most interested in. This list will be a guide for what schools you’ll be prioritizing at the fair and what you want to get out of it. However, even with a list of your top schools, keep an open mind when learning about the other schools. You might find a college that you really like that you hadn’t previously considered! Engage with the college representatives. Ask questions that you can’t find the answers for on their Website, and ask questions that you can use to help decided if that is the university for you. Prepare a list of some questions you want to ask. Here are some great examples: • What is the community like at [blank] College? • Can you tell me more about the [major/minor] at your school and what sets it apart from other programs at other schools? • What kind of student would be the best fit at your school? • What kind of student would not fit in with the school? • What is your favorite aspect of the college? • What types of extracurricular and research opportunities are there? • What does the college look for in an applicant? • Any other application specific question you may have, or anything you would like to know about the school, its academics, or its community! Once the fair is over, be sure to follow up with any admission representatives you talked to. Reps often offer their contact information at these fairs. This is a truly amazing way to network and gain connections. Send a follow up email letting them know how much you enjoyed learning about their school and how you are planning to apply/learn more about the school.

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