Greetings Students and Families
Attending a college fair gives you some exposure to the variety of colleges including those you may have overlooked. You have an opportunity to learn about academic majors, social life and to inquire about interesting and competitive summer programs that may be appropriate for current sophomores and juniors.  In its place are the promotional materials hitting your inbox- well worth a quick glance- delete those that don’t interest you and retain those for further attendance at a online campus fair.


Juniors and Seniors : Should you attend visits by campus representatives at your high school during school hours?  Quite frankly, if this means missing AP Calculus there is truly little you’ll learn about a college that you cannot read about at the college’s website. If the setting is a small one, collecting a card and having an opportunity to follow up with an email to a campus representative can have a very small marginal impact. Some of these are ZOOM presentations- these are informative – but never worth missing class – IMHO> Attendance at one of these events has ZERO impact on earning an acceptance.
Some tips for making the most of your college fair attendance – virtually or in-person:
For in-person events, I always suggest pre-printing some cards/sticky labels with your name, high school, graduation date and email address to avoid having to fill out forms while at the fair roaming table-to-table!
Collect business cards from admissions representatives — this has been replaced by collecting email addresses on a Zoom session-that’s ok too.  If you learned something unique and valuable, send a thank-you email within 48 hours (see more below). Some colleges, such as Princeton University have a practice of keeping copies of all student communications in your admissions file.
Please make sure the email address you’re using isn’t a source of embarrassment. If you don’t already have a firstname.lastname Gmail or yahoo account- now is the time to create and utilize that account for all your college communication.
Previously I wrote about locking down your Facebook account. If you hit the “like” button for a college, this gives them full access to your page. Please don’t post pictures that present a less than flattering image. Yes, you’re 15 or 16 years old and having a great time at this stage of life. That said, use your best judgment on how you present yourself. Please set your FB privacy settings so only “friends” get to see photos rather than “friends of friends”.
I reiterate – liking a college’s social media has close to zero of an impact on earning an acceptance.
In my previous newsletter I spoke about the importance of demonstrating informed interest in your college application within your essays- especially the college specific supplemental essays. . If you have a short list of schools, do your homework and make the most of your time at any college fair.  Don’t wander the aisles/zoom breakout rooms. You cannot stop at 100 college booths in two hours.
Make a plan to target the schools of interest and bring a specific list of questions that you CANNOT find answers to on the college’s website. Ask admissions officers the tough questions:
“What percentage of graduating seniors have found employment six months after graduation?”
“What percentage of freshman find a summer internship through the career center?”
“Our family isn’t eligible for financial aid. Does your college offer merit based scholarships?”
“What’s the maximum class size and the average class size in my intended major?”
“What percentage of classes are taught by actual full-time faculty as compared to adjuncts and graduate students”
“Is alcohol a ‘problem’ on campus?”
“What support services exist for academic and emotional support if I need it?”
“I’m considering a career in medicine. When will I be assigned a pre-health professions advisor?”
After you’ve hit your target list of schools, time permitting — be adventurous and wander into the booths of schools that you never heard of and perhaps you’ll be very surprised.
Well, not exactly. You’re not attending a career fair (that occurs in college) and you don’t need to have a 2 minute pitch about yourself. Your opportunity to sell yourself is during the college admissions cycle on your Common Application.   The college fair is for YOU!!
Admissions and alumni representatives want to interest you in the college they represent.  So don’t be shy, speak up and ask the tough questions above.
Parents, your child is wonderful and you mean well, but nothing screams louder than a chatty parent as a potential indicator of a student’s lack of independence and self-direction.  Please while it might seem obvious, don’t “brag” to the admissions representative with a pre-rehearsed annotated resume– no one is making an admissions decision at a college fair. In fact, parents, it would be best if your son/daughter does most of the talking outside of questions about financial aid and campus safety!
Students: That said, think of a college fair as a college interview on training wheels.
Learning to feel confident speaking with admissions representatives as a sophomore and junior is great practice for the alumni and campus interviews taking place during your senior year. Take chances, make mistakes, and just dive in! There’s nothing you can say that will be remembered and held against you later.
Sophomores and juniors should use the time to gather information about competitive summer programs in potential academic areas of interest. In particular, women and minorities should ask about special programs that are designated in majors typically under-represented by women and minorities. Such programs are highly competitive and often free of cost.
SENIORS — perhaps a few last minute visits to narrow down your choices of where to attend?
An online college fair is an excellent opportunity to jump start your campus research in anticipation of junior year campus visits.
Ask about upcoming campus virtual sessions that are scheduled specifically for juniors or for admitted seniors. As noted, some colleges schedule “diversity” weekends and offer financial assistance for attendance – these will return in fall 2022 as our public health situation continues to improve.
a) Send a thank you note to any admissions officer that spent more than 2 minutes with you to hand you a brochure. If you shared a joke or an experience, reference the memory jogging point of your conversation. Sending a thank-you note is an opportunity to reinforce your interest in the school.
b) Organize the materials collected while things are still fresh in your mind. Review which colleges stood out and take some time to enter a few thoughts in your notes to set the stage for subsequent college research, a potential campus visit and an input into a summer application essay.
c) Discard any brochures of colleges you’ve eliminated so you can stay focused on schools that interested you the most.
I invite you to schedule your mid-year strategic educational check-up to assist with summer plans and confirming course planning for the next academic year.
Warm regards,
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