Online college fairs provide guidance for students

Even+though+college+fairs+are+virtual%2C+they+are+still+helping+students+learn+about+their+options+for+college.+%E2%80%9CStudents+can+benefit+from+the+information+they+will+learn+about+colleges+during+a+college+fair%2C%E2%80%9D+said+Nina+Rasor%2C+the+College+and+Career+assistant.

Erin Kee

Even though college fairs are virtual, they are still helping students learn about their options for college. “Students can benefit from the information they will learn about colleges during a college fair,” said Nina Rasor, the College and Career assistant.

Deciding where to go to college looms over many high school students as their next big step in life. There are thousands of colleges, and they are all different from one another. One way students can prepare and familiarize themselves with their options is attending a college fair. 

A college fair is designed for students to get a feel for what kind of school they want to attend and explore their options. 

Kylie Sun, a junior, plans to attend a college fair to get a better sense of what she wants in her future. 

“I need to get an idea on what kind of college I want to go to and what I want to do as a major. I hope to gain insight into how I can prepare for the admission process and what different colleges offer as well,” Sun said. 

Typically, admission officers from different schools would come together at high schools or event centers, and students would be able to walk around and go to whatever booth interests them. Due to the pandemic, college fairs are online this year. 

“Each fair is organized differently. Some fairs will take place for multiple days allowing students to join different break-out groups with the college of interest,” said Nina Rasor, the College and Career assistant. “Other fairs will be conducted in one day with students going into multiple Zoom links for brief question and answer sessions.” 

While college fairs aren’t normally held online, some students find advantages to the virtual event. Still, making connections will not the same as it has been in-person.

“Because it’s online, it’s more accessible for a lot of people who can’t get a ride, don’t want to skip school, or have any other obstacles. But you also lose any relationship you might have formed with the people there,” said Aylin Salahifar, a junior. 

Another factor that draws many students to college fairs is demonstrated interest. Some private colleges take note of students who come to their booths and talk to them.

“Demonstrated interest is methods of showing a college that you want to attend. One way to demonstrate interest is to speak to an admissions officer at a college fair,” Rasor said.

Rasor and other sources like the National Association for College Admission Counseling advise students to come to college fairs prepared so they can make the best use of their time there.

“Prior to attending a college fair, students should register in advance, review the list of colleges attending, and create a list of questions,” Rasor said. “Make a plan of which colleges you would like to visit. Attending a visit to a school you are unfamiliar with can enhance your possible college list.”

While there’s a lot to think about going into a college fair, it’s important to remember that they’re there to help students.

“College fairs are like a Costco sample. There are thousands of colleges you can go to, and a college fair is just a little glimpse into that school,” Salahifar said. “You can get a sense of what the school’s values, culture, and environment are like. It’s a chance for you to get a taste of the college.”

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