How To Successfully Navigate College Fairs

College fairs can be overwhelming and frustrating for college-bound high school students!  In this post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know to successfully navigate college fairs.

So, what’s a college fair?

A college fair is an event where high school students can meet representatives from different colleges and universities.  The purpose of these fairs is to allow students to interact with admissions representatives about admissions requirements, financial aid, college life, and various other college-related topics.

Why you should go to college fairs…

College fairs can provide you with an excellent opportunity to learn about many colleges at once.  Visiting every single college on your list can get expensive, so going to a college fair can save you a lot of money on travel expenses.  They allow you to talk with admissions counselors and get the scoop on everything from courses offered to campus life.  You can also pick up brochures, applications, and financial aid pamphlets.

How can you get started?

First, you have to register.  Don’t worry…it’s absolutely FREE!  To find a college fair near you, visit the National Association for College Admissions Counseling website at:

What should you expect?

College fairs are usually held in really large conference centers, hence why they can be so overwhelming to students.  Hundreds of colleges and universities will have booths set up that contain information about their school and there will be a couple representatives there to answer your questions.

Typically, bags are handed out near the fair entrance.  The purpose of these bags is to keep all of the information you’ve gathered in one place.  Make sure you hold on to this bag so that you can review all of this information in more detail once you get home.

Have a Plan-of-Attack

College fairs can get pretty crowded.  It’s not unusual for thousands of students and parents to be in attendance at these events….so every student should have a plan of attack!

  • Step 1 – Find out which schools will be there.  This list is typically made available on the registration website.
  • Step 2 – Make a list of the schools you want to visit and check out the floor plan.  If you are only interested in a few schools then knowing the floor plan can save you a lot of time.
  • Step 3 – Make a list of questions that you want to ask each school.  Some common questions include the following: What types of extracurricular activities are available?  Do most students live on-campus or off-campus?  What majors do you have? What’s the average class size?  Do you offer any scholarships?
  • Step 4 – Bring something to take notes.  Odds are you won’t remember everything you heard from each admissions booth so you have to take time to take notes throughout the fair!  This way, you’ll have something to review later.
  • Step 5 – Create some self-adhesive labels with your name, address, email, phone, high school name, year of graduation, intended major and extracurricular activities.  Most schools will ask you to fill out “information cards” so that they can send you additional information later.  These self-adhesive labels will save you a ton of time because you won’t have to keep writing the same information over and over again.

Have Fun!

The college selection process can be stressful, but it can also be a lot of fun!  As you spend time at college fairs learning about different schools, don’t forget to have a good time and enjoy the experience!

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Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

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