As your child begins to prepare for college and considering next steps, you will have the option to attend college fairs, or let your child embark on that journey alone. While college fairs are an opportunity for your student to meet with college representatives, collect valuable resources and discover new colleges of interest, it’s also an opportunity for you to cover more ground and get the most of of your child’s college fair experience. For those who are not sure whether or not they should join their son or daughter at a college fair, here’s what you need to know:
Here are the Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Go to College Fairs with Your Child
#1 Create More Opportunities
While a large-scale event can often create more opportunities, it doesn’t always mean your child will have time to take advantage of them. Attending a college fair with your student will give you the opportunity to meet with more college representatives, ask important questions and collect more resources. A few days before the event, make a strategic plan with your child and determine what you both will be responsible for. For example, you may want to focus on asking high-level questions, while your child may want to focus on visiting the top 10-15 colleges they are most interested in – that way, when it comes time to narrow down their list, your student will have a better idea if those colleges that are truly a best fit, or if they only look good on paper.
If you are new to the college fair scene, here’s what to look for:
- A college representative’s business card
- Brochures and other materials
- Free seminars and information sessions
- Don’t forget to keep track of what you learned about each college
#2 A Time to Focus on the Meaningful Aspects of School
One of the best ways to collect high-level information is to ask meaningful questions. Once you have researched the schools that your child is interested in, develop a list of questions that align with your child’s interests, the school’s academic programs, social activities, acceptance rates, the surrounding area, faculty, etc.
When you take the time to create thoughtful questions you can determine whether or not the school is the right fit for your child. Overall, you will gain a broader understanding of how each of the schools can set your child up for short and long-term success. Attending college fairs can also help to answer any of those post-research questions that your child may have, such as:
- Is this college a good fit for your child?
- Will the campus environment bring out the best in your student, both socially and academically?
- What kind of campus activities are available and will they fulfill your child’s needs (for example if they are interested in playing lacrosse or joining the student government, does the school offer those options?)
We touched on this briefly, but attending college fairs can truly help give both you and your student clarity when it comes to the college application process. When you have a better idea of what the school can offer, it will help when it comes time to narrow down the search and effectively cater your next steps to that unique school. Once you have reviewed all of the materials you collected, work with your child to create a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’ pile, so you can recycle any unwanted material. Now that you’re organized, you can continue to conduct further research on the schools your child is most interested in, this can include internet search and touring college campuses.
Not sure where you should begin to look for college-fairs? Contact your student’s school counselor to see where you can find a nearby college fair.