"Learn how to nail your college application, get killer
financial aid packages
and find the perfect college from"...

Get Free Weekly Tips for Finding Money for College + Chance to Win Scholarships

Got Swag? Attending College Fairs Can Give You More Posted on:Monday, May 6th, 2013


“I’m usually the first one who reads through the applications,” said Sean Ohira the very energetic representative from USC.  Hundreds of college reps filled the Pasadena Convention Center this past April to answer student’s most burning questions about college.  Turns out college fairs such as the annual NACAC college fair, offer tremendous insight into the college application process.  Meeting college reps and having the chance to ask direct questions can help you narrow your college selections and compile a more impressive application with a lot more swag!

Here are the 5 top takeaways from the NACAC College Fair:

#1 Attending college fairs in your area is a great way to put a face to an application. As Ohira stated, regional reps are often the first line of defense in the application process, which means, you want to get to know them!  College reps will come out to your school and provide informational workshops, and if they don’t happen to make it out, the next best thing is reaching out to them on their own turf, or by attending a college fair! It doesn’t stop there, be sure to get their card, and follow up.  Demonstrated interest can play a significant role in tipping the admissions scale.

#2 “It’s better to get an A in an AP class.”  This was also a noteworthy comment made by Sean, USC rep, in response to a student’s question: “Is it better to get a C in an AP class or an A in an honors class?”  Many college reps confirmed the importance of having a beaming application.  Terms like “impacted” and “ideal candidate” were thrown around.  Simply put, campuses are overcrowded, and the admissions process has become even more tightly wound.  You must increase your ICQ or Ideal Candidate Quotient in every way possible.  So as Sean stated, strive for A’s in every class you take.

#3 Think outside of the box!  There are thousands of colleges out there, and it might just be that the small unsuspecting college in Minnesota is a way better fit than the local name-brand college you always imagined attending.   So as you’re perusing the tables, consider chatting with at least 5 reps from colleges that you’ve never heard of. You may learn that they have an outstanding program in your desired major, or maybe they have a generous endowment that helps meet students’ full financial need.

#4   Don’t talk yourself out of applying.  Ana, an admissions rep from UC Berkeley stated that, “many students become intimidated by the numbers and won’t apply.”  According to Ana, they should still apply, because most schools complete a “comprehensive review.”  That means colleges look at not only your grades and scores, but consider your personal statement, the various challenges you have overcome, and major accomplishments outside of school.  If you meet the requirements, don’t rule yourself out.  Apply and let the admissions committee decide.

#5  Follow up!  It’s worth repeating, because your ability to network and follow through will carry you well beyond your college years.   Don’t just meander up and down the aisles.  Walk up to people, shake their hand, look them in the eye and be memorable.  I know this can be a daunting task, but these skills will give you more mileage even beyond your college years.

Action Step:  If you recently attended the college fair, dig out the business cards and brochures you have stuffed in your bag, organize them, and plan times to make follow up calls to the college reps, even if just to say “Hi my name is (fill in the blank) and I just wanted to say that it was really great meeting you.”

Get free weekly updates in your inbox

Subscribe for tips, insights and news on upcoming offers!