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College 101

College Fairs
Article Type: Quick and Dirty

You're entering your junior year of high school. Forget about campus visits; the only college you've ever seen is Mississippi State University, and that's because you live in Starkvegas. You've been told that there's a vast cornucopia of institutions of higher education out there. Your classmates whisper about places called Duke and Vanderbilt. You want to know what other schools are out there that might be a fit for you, but there's so much information, and you don't know where to start.

"If only college fairs involved gorging on cotton candy…"


Enter the college fair. Funnel cakes! Haunted House! Huge stuffed animals! Step right up and . . . nope, wrong fair.

The college fair is a magical event that exists to help you in Narrowing Down Your List of Schools, and may even draw your attention to some awesome colleges you never even knew existed.

A college fair is like a Renaissance Faire, just without the costumes and turkey legs. There are booths. There are representatives of colleges at these booths. You go from booth to booth, doing the meet n' greet, asking questions and collecting information.

The whole Twenty Questions thing is reciprocal. College representatives will ask you for your name and number, what you're looking for in a school, and what your projected area of study is. This way they can keep track of you and put a voodoo curse on you if you don't apply to their college.

So, what's your part in all of this?

Three Things You Shouldn't Do At A College Fair:

1. Show up with bedhead in flip-flops and pajamas.

2. Slurp on an Icee while talking to a college representative.

3. Make paper airplanes out of the papers you pick up at the Harvard booth.

Treat the college fair like it's a college visit...or, really, a lot of college visits crammed into a couple of hours. This means you dress well and go in with some information about the schools that will be present at the fair.

Take a list of questions you can throw at the various college representatives so you look intelligent and interested. If you really want to wow the guy from Berkeley, carry a side-by-side comparison chart of all the schools at the fair, where you can scribble down pertinent facts for easy reference. Take a bag, because you are going to go home with more guidebooks, brochures, and merch than your two arms can carry.

Oh, and take your curiosity. Chances are, you're going to run across a school that you've never heard of, one that catches your interest and makes you think, “Hmm, maybe that's where I belong...”

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