Get stories and expert advice on all things related to college and parenting.
Making Virtual College Visits (Almost) as Good as the Real ThingGuest Contributor
As you might expect, many of this fall's college fairs will take place virtually via online platforms as opposed to their traditional, in-person format. All are free to attend.
Freshmen and sophomores, 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.
For juniors, 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.
Seniors, these fairs are extra important for you. You were likely unable to visit all of your colleges, so jump at this chance to experience as much as you can of the schools on your list. Get any lingering questions answered. Demonstrate your interest. 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.
Below, I've highlighted some of the more popular events in which a wide array of colleges participate, but you will find some colleges plan to host their own events apart from those listed. You can check any college’s Undergraduate Admissions page to see if it is putting on its own private event separate from these collaborative virtual fairs.
And now .. to the virtual college events!
August 26 & 27 – Coalition College Fair
"The Coalition for College is a diverse group of more than 150 distinguished colleges and universities across the U.S. that is committed to making college a reality for all high school students through its set of free, online college planning tools."
Visit the Coalition website to see the full list of schools affiliated with Coalition For Colleges and to learn more about each school. Colleges listed on the CFC website accept the Coalition Application for admission, and some also accept the Common Application. Registering for a CFC college fair session in no way binds you to using the Coalition Application.
September 13, October 12, October 18, November 8 – NACAC Virtual College Fairs
"During each NACAC Virtual College Fair, more than 600 college and university representatives will be available to talk with you and other students! Sign up to attend their live and interactive Zoom sessions on how to apply, financial aid, student life, and more. Watch, learn, and get your questions answered about academics, athletics, diversity, study abroad, and other topics. Attend as often as you like."
To see the list of colleges who will present, click on the link above, select the date you plan to attend, and scroll down the page.
Lastly, StriveScan is a virtual platform many colleges currently use to present to students and families. College presentations given through StriveScan are recorded and archived. Click here to access the list of presentations. No registration required; all events are prerecorded.