College fairs are similar to trade fairs, where there are booths all over the place and people from all walks of life walking around. The only difference is that instead of local crafts and food staples in a regular trade fair, college fairs comprise recruitment booths set up by colleges, universities and other organizations relevant to you and your college application process. In most cases, these organizations reserve rooms in the venue for auditions, especially those schools offering performing arts courses.
One more reason to attend trade fairs is the seminars. Organizers of these expos find speakers that can motivate would-be college freshmen. Topics covered in these seminars can be anything from athletic scholarships to financial aid, to finding part-time work in college. Here are some of the things you should remember when attending college fairs.
3 Tips for Attending College Fairs:
1. Wear Smart Casual
There is a particular mode of dress that tells recruiters you’re taking the college fair seriously but you’re not trying too hard. Simply put, you look your age and you exude the aura of someone who is ready for an interview anytime. Smart casual for men includes a formal shirt, jeans or khakis and dress shoes. Wearing sneakers is allowed as long as the overall look is put-together well. Smart casual for women includes a well-fitting blouse, dress jeans or a skirt and formal shoes. A possible exception to this is when you intend to perform during your audition for dance school or drama school. In this case, you can wear regular sweats over your tights. Whether you went there for a seminar or you’re still on the fence about your college options, looking your best is recommended.
2. Bring Your Documents
Bring a folder containing your resume, school records, awards, certificates of recognition, as well as ACT and SAT scores. Some high school students get accepted on the spot based on how complete their requirements are. Some college recruiters create their shortlist of potential candidates from the resumes and applications they collected during the college fair.
3. List the Booths You Want to Visit
Even if you have a good idea which booth you intend to visit, you still need a list of the institutions that you want to apply to. It may be difficult to walk around without direction, and you may end up spending more time in one booth than the one you intend to visit. If you have a list, you can simply cross out the organizations you’ve already covered and add more to your list as you go. This will also make it easier for you to keep track of your submissions. Remember, you have to visit each booth on your list and find out what the recruiters have to offer.
Photo credit: The College Expo, National College Resources Foundation