I always recommend that students and their parents attend college fairs that are held in or near their home towns. Here is a summary of the benefits of attending a fair:
1. Gather glossy brochures for a lot of colleges at once.
You can see a lot of the same information on the college's website, but the brochure puts a lot of information for perspective students in once place, and there is no substitute for large colorful pictures and charts that you can hold in your hand.
2. Show some love by filling out information cards for the colleges that interest you.
"Demonstrated interest" by the student improves your chances of admission at many colleges. Ensuring that the college knows that you attended the college fair is one way for you to demonstrate interest, in addition to college visits, emails, meeting with college reps at your high school, and applying early decision.
3. Establish a relationship with the admissions officer who will probably review your application.
Very often the person manning the booth is the person who is responsible for reviewing applications from students in that area. Ask the person for their business card, and follow up with an email the next day. It's another way to demonstrate interest, and get your specific questions answered.
4. Get answers to your specific questions.
If you have questions that aren't answered on the website or brochure, now is your chance to ask. How optional are the optional SAT scores, can I send in more than two recommendations? Etc.
5. Learn more about colleges you weren't already considering.
Never heard of Haverford College or Butler U? Take brochures from a lot of schools and you may find one or two more that interest you enough to apply.
Have more questions about college fairs or other parts of the admissions process? Contact me today.