Inside a College Fair

Your first look at your top college or university choices

The college search sometimes feels a lot like dating. There are some colleges and universities where the spark isn't there and a few schools you'll absolutely love. Where better to get know each other than a college fair?

A college fair is a great chance for you and even your parents to find out more about your top college choices and hear from universities you might not have considered. You can find out about fairs near you through your high school, online or by checking with a university that interests you to see when they'll be in town. 

The College Search x100

Going to a college fair is a little like a speed dating event, said Saint Louis University admission counselor Eric Wilson. You have somewhere between 90 minutes to two hours to check out the schools—and sometimes there can be hundreds to choose from.

"If you have a chance, find a list of the colleges that will be attending and put an asterisk by the ones that interest you," he recommends.

College Questions to Ask

Every date needs a little small talk, so come with a few questions about college, from how to get financial aid and scholarship money to admission requirements and what assistance you'll have getting in. Here are a few more subjects to get you started:
  • Does your college offer undergraduates the major or program I'm interested in?
  • How much does your university cost?
  • What kind of scholarships does your college offer?
  • How much financial aid do students at your university get?
  • Who will help me find a major?
  • What college application deadlines should I keep in mind?
  • How big is your school?

Get more top questions to ask a college admissions counselor.  

Request More Information 

Of course, everyone wants to make a good impression when it comes to getting into college—both you and the admission counselor you're visiting with. "College fairs are our way of bringing a small bit of the campus directly to you," says Saint Louis University admission counselor Michelle Rogers. The representatives colleges and universities send are hoping to spark your interest and make a memorable impression.

If a school feels like a fit, it might be time for a second date. Request information from colleges that interest you or schedule a campus visit. "The schools that stick with you at a college fair are the ones you should make every effort to visit," Barnes says. 

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