Applying To College

College Essay Writing and Interview Skills


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How to Visit a College Fair

how to visit a college fair Have you added a college fair to your calendar? Great! You’ll meet college reps, find answers to your questions, and learn about the schools that interest you.

But be careful – college fairs can be overwhelming, especially if you plunge in without a plan.

Here’s How to Visit a College Fair:

1. Locate a College Fair in Your Area.

The biggest organizer of college fairs is the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). You’ll find a complete list of college fairs on their website. They also organize Performing and Visual Arts College Fairs.

You can register beforehand for a NACAC fair, which will save time and standing on line.

High schools organize college fairs, too. Every year you’ll find me at the Danbury College & Vocational Fair in Danbury, Connecticut, where I love meeting and talking to students about writing college application essays. (Come see me!)

2. Before You Go to the Fair:

  •  Make a list of the colleges you want to visit. The schools should meet your criteria (academics, extracurriculars, location, size, etc.).
  • Take a notebook and a pen or pencil.
  • Take a bag or backpack to stash the information you’ll collect.
  • If you have access to a computer, print address labels with your name and address to stick on all the requests for information you’ll want to fill out (a time-saver!).
  • Dress decently. You may be meeting the college admissions officer from the school of your dreams.
  • Write down questions for the college reps. Here are a few possible questions:
    • What are the most popular majors at your school?
    • Do you offer the sports or extra curricular activities I’m interested in?
    • What kind of career services do you offer your students?
    • How available are the instructors to the students?
    • Do the best professors teach undergraduates?
    • How many students receive financial aid?
    • NACAC offers a complete list of questions to print out. Find it here.

3. When You Arrive:

  • Pick up a Map. Mark off the colleges that you want to see and lay out a path. That way, you won’t miss any schools or have to backtrack to find them, which will save a ton of energy.
  • Talk to at Least One School Not on Your List. Don’t just look at the schools you think you’ll like or the ones your friends want to attend. If a school seems interesting, say hi. You’ve got reps from colleges across the country at your disposal.
  • Don’t Rely on Memory. After you finish at each table, jot down the answers and your impressions so you can compare schools later. Everything blends together at these events—no matter how great your memory is.

4. For Bonus Points:

  • Bring Your Parents. Really. I’m not saying that Mom and Dad should stand two inches away while you talk to the rep—this is your fair. But parents are another set of eyes and ears, which is helpful when there’s so much information to absorb. They can also get answers to their own questions, like financial aid. Afterwards, make plans as a family to grab a burger and discuss your impressions—it will help you sort out your thoughts.

5. When You Get Home:

  • Organize your materials so you can find them when you need them.

Next Time: How to Talk to a Rep at a College Fair (and make a great impression while you do).

sharon-epstein-college-essay-writing-and-interview-skillsSharon Epstein is owner of First Impressions College Consulting. A Writers Guild Award-winner and two-time Emmy Award nominee, Sharon teaches students how to master interview skills, write killer resumes, and transform goals, dreams and experiences into memorable college application essays. She works with students everywhere: in-person, by phone, Skype and email. Visit her website for more information. Connect on Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.

 

helpful links:
NACAC: Tips for Attending a College Fair
NACAC: What to Do at a Performing Arts Fair
Danbury College & Vocational Fair


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2014 Spring College Fairs

2014 college fairs spring
Looking for a college fair in your area?

Here is the list of  spring 2014 national college fairs sponsored by National Association for College Admission Counseling.  For more information about each fair, click on the name of the college fair or visit National College Fairs.

MARCH 2
Louisville National College Fair
Kentucky International Convention Center
Louisville, KY
2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

MARCH 9
The Park Expo and Conference Center
Charlotte, NC
12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
MARCH 11
Raleigh Convention Center
Raleigh, NC
4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

MARCH 16
Atlanta National College Fair
Georgia World Congress Center
Atlanta, GA
12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

MARCH 16 & 17
Rochester Riverside Convention Center
Rochester, New York
March 16: 1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
March 17: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
MARCH 18
Syracuse National College Fair
SRC Arena
Onondaga Community College
Syracuse, New York
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. – 8 p.m.
MARCH 30 & MARCH 31
Eastern States Exposition (The Big E)
West Springfield, Massachusetts
March 30: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
March 31: 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

MARCH 31 & APRIL 1
Metro Detroit National College Fair
Suburban Collection Showplace
Novi, Michigan
March 31: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
April 1: 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
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Grand Rapids, Michigan
8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.

APRIL 3 & 4
Hartford National College Fair
Connecticut Convention Center
Hartford, Connecticut
Thursday, April 3: 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Friday, April 4: 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.


APRIL 5
Columbus National College Fair
Greater Columbus Convention Center
Columbus, Ohio
1:00 p.m. – 4 p.m.

APRIL 6
Cleveland National College Fair

Wolstein Center
Cleveland, Ohio
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

APRIL 6
New York National College Fair
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center of New York
New York, NY
11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

APRIL 8 & 9
Buffalo Niagara Convention Center
Buffalo, NY
April 8: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
April 9: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

APRIL 9 & 10
Montgomery County National College Fair

Montgomery County Agricultural Center
Gaithersburg, MD
April 9: 9:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
April 10: 9:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

APRIL 10

Honolulu National College Fair
Hawaii Convention Center
Honolulu, HI
8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.


APRIL 11
Prince George’s County National College Fair

Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex
Landover, Maryland
9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

APRIL 23
San Diego National College Fair
San Diego Convention Center
San Diego, CA
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

APRIL 23 & 24
New Jersey National College Fair

Meadowlands Exposition Center (at Harmon Meadow)
Secaucus, NJ
April 23: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
April 24: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

APRIL 24
Ventura/Tri-County National College Fair

Ventura County Fairgrounds
Ventura, CA
5:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m

APRIL 26
Providence National College Fair

Rhode Island Convention Center
Providence, RI
12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

APRIL 27
Nashville National College Fair
Music City Center

Nashville, TN
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Anaheim Convention Center
Anaheim, CA
1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

APRIL 29
Ontario Convention Center
Ontario, CA
9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.

MAY 1
Greater Los Angeles National College Fair
Pasadena Convention Center
Pasadena, CA
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

MAY 1 & 2
Boston National College Fair
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC)
Boston, MA
May 1: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
May 2: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Cow Palace
San Francisco, CA
1:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
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Enjoy!

sharon-epstein-college-essay-writing-and-interview-skillsSharon Epstein is owner of First Impressions College Consulting. A Writers Guild Award-winner and two-time Emmy Award nominee, Sharon teaches students how to master interview skills, write killer resumes, and transform goals, dreams and experiences into memorable college application essays. She works with students everywhere: in-person, by phone, Skype and email. Visit her website for more information. Connect on Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.