In traditional non-COVID times there are a range of different college fairs for students. These vary from the Columbus Suburban College Fair that WKHS helps to plan and provide to those with special interest and focus such as national college fairs for Performing and Visual Arts or smaller targeted fairs such as for those with Learning Disabilities.
Due to COVID, many college fairs have shifted to a virtual college fair format. This page on our website shares information about virtual college fairs. If you find in person college fairs, the information on the rest of this page will help you to know what to expect.
If you have never been to a college fair before, please know that they are very busy with lots of people. Here is some information that can hopefully help you when attending the college fair.
College fairs provide the chance to meet with admissions representatives in person. They are gathered together in one place to meet interested students and parents and to answer your questions. Many schools also keep track of the number of interactions/ meetings you have with their admissions representatives during your search and application process so that they can gauge your interest level in their school. As a component of this, and also a way to expand their mailing database, a large number of the college fair booths will have cards for you to fill out with your contact information and interests. If you want to save time you can create and print out address labels that include your name, address, phone number, e-mail, high school name, and year of graduation. If you know your intended major(s) and extra-curricular activities of interest for college, this is also information that you might want to include on your label. You can then just put the label on the card instead of re-writing the exact same information at table after table for each college.
Be prepared before arriving at the college fair. Know that there will be far more schools than you are interested in or can even truly take in during one afternoon, so it is useful to come up with a list of colleges that you would be interested in learning more about by doing a search that looks for different criteria that seems to be a good fit for you. With that list in hand you now have a starting point for the colleges that you would like to talk to during the fair.
It can be useful to ask the same questions of each college so that you can compare them and their responses appropriately. We encourage you to also consider thinking about the things you most want to know about the school and can’t find in a brochure or website. Everyone is different so your questions are going to be different depending upon your interests, but if you are really interested in playing a club sport in college, you might want to ask about their club/ intramural program and the numbers of students that participate. You may want to ask what the top 2 or 3 majors are on campus as that will give you an idea of what most of the students are interested in studying. If you are undecided about what you would like to study, it would be a great idea to ask them what support and services are available to help students in exploring different majors.
Take something with you to be able to jot some notes on and also a pen or pencil. It is a crazy event with so much happening that if you don’t write it down as you go you won’t remember much after the fact. The admissions representatives are giving you a small look of the college – what do you think following each glimpse?
When you are walking through the college fair with the list of schools that you want to talk to don’t forget to leave some time for browsing – you may realize that a school you had not previously considered has just what you are looking for in a college. It can be easy for us to get caught in the cycle of only looking at specific schools because that is what “everyone” else is considering.
Some additional tips that may help you with the Columbus Suburban College Fair:
1. Read over the tips on the website before attending. (www.college-fair.org)
2.There will be over 200 colleges in attendance. Review the list of colleges attending and make a plan of your 'must see' colleges. Colleges will be arranged alphabetically. ( List of attendees on website).
3. Parking will most likely require a bus ride to campus from a satellite parking lot. Be prepared for lines waiting for bus transportation.
4. The doors will open at 1:00. Before then, you will be waiting in a long line. Don't worry. Once the door opens, the line moves very very quickly and you will have plenty of time to visit with the representatives.
5. There will be over 200 college representatives and approximately 3,000 attendees (parents and students) visiting the Clements Center at Otterbein between 1:00-3:30. It can be overwhelming but it is organized and well worth it.
6. Be prepared for the weather and the crowds.
7. Enjoy your day! Make connections with the college representatives. Give them your information so they can make contact with you and take their information so you can make contact with them. Build that relationship.