It’s that time of year again! School is back in session and everyone’s thinking about what’s next for them. Well, whether you’re in high school preparing for post-secondary or you’re currently in your undergrad looking ahead to a graduate degree, then this is the perfect time of year for you!
Education fairs are back in full swing, with many taking place in-person! So, if you’re planning on attending any education fairs, like the Study and Go Abroad Fairs (SAGA), then you need to be prepared!
8 things to do to get ready for an education fair
It’s been a while since students like you could meet face-to-face with school recruiters, and you may not know what you should bring and how to get ready. But don’t worry! Here’s everything you need to do to get ready for an education fair and make the most of your experience!
Many education fairs may want you to register before you arrive so that you have access to important and updated information about the fair. Some fairs may even have extra presentations going on, like SAGA’s seminars, that require you to sign up to attend. Check before the fair begins to see if you need to register, and then make sure you do! But don’t worry if you missed out on pre-registrations. Odds are good that you can register at the door!
2. Scope out the exhibitors
Once you’ve registered for the fair (if needed), then now’s the time to check out who will be in attendance! Are there certain schools you’ve got your sights set on? Are there ones you never considered, but are located in an area you really like? Make a note of who you absolutely want to see, and who you’re interested in checking out.
3. Create a schedule
Now that you know who the exhibitors are going to be and when they may be presenting, you can make a schedule for your day at the fair. Within the time you have at the fair, there may be too many exhibitors you want to meet that are spread out across the event space.
When creating your schedule of when to meet with exhibitors, you should rank exhibitors and presentations in order of priority. So, the schools you want to meet the most should be one of the first stops you make during the day. This way, you ensure that you don’t run out of time before you get to talk to the schools that you’re most interested in.
4. Keep an open mind
You may walk into the fair already knowing which schools you’re interested in, but don’t let this stop you from being open to opportunities. You never know what school might end up being the one for you. After you’ve explored the exhibitors that you wanted to see, check out some booths nearby. Even if you don’t have any questions yourself, listen to what other students are asking. You may discover an interesting course or an exciting scholarship program you didn’t know about before. There will be exhibitors you’ve never considered before, but what they can offer you may surprise you — even if that’s just a short conversation and some cool swag at their booth.
5. Bring a list of questions
This is your time to get some immediate answers to any questions you have about the school. But keep in mind that you may not be the only one wanting to meet with each exhibitor, so use the time you have wisely. Make sure you ask questions that you wouldn’t typically find on the school’s website or brochure. Your questions should be specific and catered to your interests.
Not sure what kinds of questions you should ask? Check out some of these sample questions to get you inspired:
- What are the most popular courses in program X?
- If I’m not sure about what I want to study, is there an option to defer choosing a major? Or how else can the school offer support?
- How many students receive financial aid in their first year? Are there any course-specific scholarships and do they require an additional application?
- What types of extra-curricular activities are available?
- What type of student is this school looking for?
- What does the school look for in an applicant? What can I do to make my application stronger?
Still need some more inspiration? Check out these Top 8 Questions to Ask When Considering Studying Abroad.
6. Bring something you can take notes with
Whether you use your phone or a pen and notepad, make sure you’re prepared to take notes. You’re going to meet with many different exhibitors — all of which will have important and unique information for you. By taking notes, you ensure that you don’t forget any key details or mix up information from different schools. You’ll be able to keep track of all the answers to the questions you asked. The last thing you want is to have discovered an amazing program, but forgot which school taught it.
Bring back up supplies as well! If you’re taking notes in a notebook, bring multiple pens in case one runs out of ink. If you’re using your phone to take notes, bring a portable charger so that your phone doesn’t run out of battery halfway through the fair, or bring pen and paper as a backup.
7. Know your worth
A large part of applying to schools, programs, and scholarships is meeting eligibility requirements. Do you have the grades? Have you taken the right courses? What activities are you involved in? Coming to the fair already prepared with the knowledge of your most recent grade average, courses you’re taking, and what extra-curriculars you do at school and in your community is a great way to find schools that match you.
8. Plan how you’ll get to and from the venue
Many fairs are back in-person this year, which means you’ll have to go to the venue to meet with exhibitors. Whether you’re walking, biking, driving, or taking a bus or train, make sure you plan your transportation in advance so you get there on time.
With these top tips in mind, you’ll be ready for any education fair you attend. Remember, the more prepared you come, the more you’ll get out of this experience!