How to conquer your next college fair

October 31, 2017

College fairs can quickly feel like rapid-fire free-for-alls, which in some of the best-case scenarios, can make you feel a tad overwhelmed. To help cure some of your frustration, we asked four Lees-McRae admission counselors to share their college fair advice so you can go into the next college fair feeling prepared.

First, let’s meet our admissions counselors:

Director of Admission at Lees-McRae, Candace Silver (“CS”), made her way to the Blue Ridge Mountains 12 years ago for college. As an undergraduate student, she studied marketing and management. She later went on to receive her master’s degree in higher education with a focus on student support.

Assistant Director of Admission at Lees-McRae, Bailey Stewart (“BS”), grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, but always felt a magnetic pull to Western North Carolina. Her love became a reality when she studied marketing during undergraduate studies. Quickly after graduation, she became a member of the Lees-McRae community.

Born in the mountains, fellow Assistant Director of Admission, Amanda Merritt (“AM”), went to high school in Raleigh, North Carolina, before returning to higher elevations to receive her degree in hospitality management.

Last, but certainly not least, is Admission Counselor, Riley Sailor (“RS”). She lives in the high country with her husband, her two beagles, Booth and Cooper, and their cat, Sig. Even though she didn’t attend Lees-McRae as a student, Sailor—who loves to get active in the great outdoors—says working at Lees-McRae has been equally as incredible. She also loves a good ice cream shop, “it’s called balance,” Sailor said.

Now that you’ve gotten to know a few of our admission counselors, let’s hear what their advice is for those fun, and sometimes stressful, college fairs!

Write your questions down before you go.

AM: Help the counselor help you find your perfect college. A quick Google search will do the trick, and you can even screenshot the list to save to your phone. Look for questions that pertain to what interests you have, or what deters you from a college.

CS: So, what is a good question to ask at a college fair? How about: what makes a student a good fit at the school? The answer will help determine if you will be a good fit so you can move forward with scheduling a visit!

Don’t be afraid to talk to the people behind the table.

BS: We really want to talk to you! We love to get to know you and help you through your college process. You’ll see counselors, alumni, friends of the college/university and sometimes even faculty behind the table. Use them as a resource! This is your time to start the conversations with schools you may apply to later on. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to get your foot in the door.

RS: We are not just trying to persuade you to come to our institution; we are trying to guide you to your best fit. Personally, if I speak with a student and they don’t seem like they would enjoy Lees-McRae, I will think of a school that aligns more with what they are wanting and point them in that direction. We are not trying to sell you something; we are there to guide you in the best direction for your education.

Don’t just go to the most “popular” or well-known school.

CS: There is always that one school everyone will visit just to get a brochure. That’s fine if that’s where you want to go! However, I encourage you to go on the road less traveled. Talk to all schools—you never know what you will find. 

AM: Before working as an admission counselor, I had no idea how many colleges existed in just our state alone. You will probably see quite a few colleges at your fair that you may have not even heard of—check out a couple! Just because thousands of people attend large, popular universities that does not mean that it’s the best fit for every student. Think about it for a second. If you know you prefer smaller class sizes, then would you really thrive at a school that holds class in an auditorium? On the other hand, if you have a very specific major or career path in mind, some lesser-known schools probably specialize in that program. Finding the one that is the best fit for you will make yours the most memorable. 

Categories:  Admissions,  All College News

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