On Sunday, October 28 (1 pm-5 pm) and Monday, October 29 (9 am-Noon), the National Association for College Admission Counseling National College Fair will be at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. This presents a fantastic opportunity for students and their families to learn more about the college application process, connect with representatives from individual colleges and universities, and ask questions of counseling, testing, and financial aid professionals.
The Heart of the Matter
More than 250 colleges from across the country as well as some international institutions will have admissions personnel staffing booths in Exhibit Hall D. Students and families can speak directly with professionals to learn about the wide variety of college opportunities that are available. From community colleges, to small, residential liberal-arts colleges, conservatories, and major research universities, each type of institution boasts a different kind of collegiate experience.
Attending a college fair should be helpful, and leave you feeling energized, optimistic and confident about your future. However, with so many people and so much going on, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and exhausted before you accomplish much. Whether you’re a sophomore or junior just beginning your college search, or a senior who is putting the final touches on your college list, pre-fair preparation is key.
Before the Fair
1. Pre-register at www.gotomyncf.com. Print the barcoded ID and bring it to the event.
2. Decide what you want to accomplish by attending the fair.
Seniors – can use the fair to express continued interest in the colleges on their “short list”, get answers to questions they developed during their research, and expand their college horizons in necessary.
Juniors & Sophomores – can ask themselves questions to help them identify 5-10 colleges that they’ll want to visit at the fair.
1. What do you want to get from your college experience.
2. What factors describe the best learning environment for you?
3. How much academic pressure helps you achieve you best?
4. What academic programs & extracurricular activities would you like at college?
Answering these questions prior to the college will enable counselors on-site to recommend suitable college booths to visit.
At the Fair
1. Use the college locator handout to determine which college booths you’ll visit.
2. Determine which information sessions you’ll attend and what times they’re offered.
3. Take notes–waiting until you get home is a mistake.
4. Get the names and contact information of people you meet.
5. Consider how representatives interact with you. Are they friendly? What do they communicate about their colleges?
Questions to Ask College Fair Representatives as You Start Your College Search
Ask open-ended questions which require more than a yes or no response.
Tell me about ____ College.
I’m interested in ___. What can you tell me about this program at your school?
What makes your college unique?
What is your college best-known for?
What are some of the challenges students at your college face?
What do you like best about your college?
If you could change anything at your college, what would it be? Why?
Time at the fair is limited, so decide on a few questions that are pertinent to you.
1. If at all possible, let your teens take the lead about how to spend your time.
2. Refrain from speaking for your teens.
3. If you have questions for college representatives, go ahead and ask them.
4. Consider splitting off from your teens for at least part of the time. This will allow you to attend a financial aid presentation and your high schoolers to explore on their own.
The Icing On The Cake: Two additional features
Information Sessions will be presented multiple times each day. Topics include the college application process, college financial aid, writing college essays, and understanding the transfer process.
Finally, counselors, financial aid advisors, and testing professionals will be on hand to provide information and answer questions. Attendees who have questions or are unsure about how to make the best use of their time, can visit the counseling center located at the entrance to the exhibit hall.