College Fairs feature all the necessary information prior to the college application process getting underway. Nationwide, high school seniors flood to these events. Students want to be sure that when they apply to the colleges of their choice, they have all the necessary components to complete the application successfully. Students and parents also inquire about open house dates, application deadlines, Greek Life, residency accommodations and extra-curricular activities, just to name a few. Finally, some students take advantage of meeting the admissions officer who will eventually review their application.
Advantage for You
Admissions officers work regionally and attend the college fairs in their region. Therefore, they have the opportunity to meet the applicants who they will ultimately receive paperwork from. Putting a face with a name can possibly lead to an advantage for certain students at particular colleges.
Tip For Underclassmen
However, in my experience, these College Fairs shouldn't be exclusive to seniors. Underclassman, can gain valuable insight from attending these fairs early in their high school careers.
The most competitive colleges in the nation often mandate a college entrance exam score (SAT or ACT) in addition to Subject Tests (SAT II's). Knowing which exams you are required to take earlier in your high school years may help you allocate your exam schedule. This can help in avoiding an overwhelming testing schedule in the spring of your junior year. Underclassman can also inquire about SAT/ACT requirements and have more than just a few months to improve their scores. Students can get a strong idea of where they are via a PSAT or practice ACT exam. Having a year or two to work on getting the score you need is a lot less stressful than trying to vastly improve for an October or December exam.
Importance Of Academic Schedule
College admissions counselors will also discuss the importance of the strength of one's academic schedule. As an underclassman, you still have the opportunity to challenge yourself by enrolling in AP and/or college classes over the next one to three years. Students can also discuss with the admission counselor what they look for on a resume and what will stand out most during the application process. Unlike seniors, underclassman can take the admissions counselor's suggestions and significantly develop their resume. Finally, when students and parents begin attending these fairs it inevitably makes college a closer reality. Often discussions of finance begin to take place and families can get on the same page much earlier in the college-going process. It is imperative for students to know what their own financial obligations will be and/or if the parents can assist in any way. Having this information is vital to one's college search.
College is a major investment and should be treated accordingly. If you were to purchase a new home, you wouldn't just fill out the paperwork, hope it fits your criteria and then see it for the first time after your bid was accepted. Unfortunately this is what some families do when it comes to the college search. The more information you gather and the more research you do will undoubtedly lead to a more positive and realistic college pursuit.