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The Flip Side of "Demonstrated Interest"V. Peter Pitts, M.A.
You may be wondering if your high school junior will EVER be able to attend an in-person campus information session or tour. We all hope things will open up more this summer and fall.
In the meantime, virtual college fairs are a great way for juniors — and younger students, too — to learn about colleges and begin building a list of schools that interest them.
NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling) is hosting a series of free online college fairs this spring — some general, some focusing on a specific region or academic area.
During the fair, your student will have the opportunity to schedule one-on-one meetings with admission representatives if they have a question that isn't answered in a live Zoom sessions or through the videos (which they can watch at any time). They can also "chat" with a NACAC advisor.
March 7 – STEM Fair
March 16 – Performing and Visual Arts Fair
March 21 – College Fair (600+ schools!)
April 10– Western U.S. Fair
April 20 – Southeastern U.S. Fair
May 2 – College Fair
To participate, your student needs to create a user account. Encourage them to begin exploring BEFORE the fair they want to attend. They can use a filter (location, size, degrees and majors offered, and other criteria) to create a list of favorite schools.
On the day of the fair, many schools will offer live Zoom sessions — your student should browse the options ahead of time and add reminders to their schedule so they are ready to join these sessions promptly!
This how-to video will help your student make the most of the virtual NACAC college fair experience:
Courtesey of Amy Romm Lockard, Dovetail College Consulting
These college fairs are a great opportunity to simply get your feet wet and learn more about different types of colleges, from small to large, public to private, liberal arts to institutes of technology. Show up with an open mind, listen, take notes, and know that nothing more is expected of you.
College fairs provide an opportunity to experience colleges from the comfort of your home. Some of the info sessions available to you will include student presenters who speak to what academic and social life are like on campus while others will include a live tour of campus (neat, right?). This is the perfect time for you to think on what you may be looking for in a college beyond the obvious major/minor, location. Think: student culture, academic opportunities, housing, dining. Got a question? Ask it! That's exactly what these panels are for, and it demonstrates your interest in the school.
Brownie points: When the panel is over, stay on for an extra minute to thank the presenters. If that's not possible, note the presenters' names and search the college's website for their email addresses. Then, send them a well written Thank You note over email.
College move-in is approaching! Help your student prepare by making sure they have everything they need for a successful freshman year.