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Navigating a Virtual College Fair

There is a terrific opportunity at the end of this month for students to meet virtually with representatives from colleges all around the country (and several overseas). The National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) is hosting a virtual college fair on February 28. Here is all you need to know about how to register and how to navigate a virtual college fair:

- First thing to do is register. Sign up here: Exhibitors | Fairs (virtualcollegefairs.org).

- This is a “virtual” fair, so get yourself set up on whatever device works for you – laptop, iPad, phone. You’ll want to be somewhere that has a good Wi-Fi connection. You’re doubtless familiar with Zoom break-out rooms, and that’s what these are.

- Do your research. Look over the list of schools (594 of them!) and come up with several that you would like to learn more about. But be open-minded and add a few you are not as familiar with – just as if you were browsing by their table at an in-person college fair.

- When you enter a college’s break-out room, be prepared to introduce yourself. Memorize or jot down in front of you an introduction (in case you freeze or feel awkward) – “Hi – my name is [first and last] and I am a junior at La Jolla High School in San Diego. I am interested in [interests, majors, or activities] and am anxious to learn more about your school.” Or if you don’t know what you want to study, by all means, say you are undecided and are anxious to learn what is available.

- Be prepared to ask open-ended questions, preferably something that is not readily searchable on their website. Instead of asking, “do you offer psychology as a major?” consider asking, “what research opportunities are available for psychology majors and how accessible are such opportunities for students in their early years?”

- You are not kept to a set time – you can come and go as your schedule dictates. The college may ask that you put your name and contact information into the chat so they know who showed up. If they don’t ask, do so proactively – especially if there are a large number of students in the “room” when you are there.

- Have fun! Take notes so you can remember which school offered a special program or something of interest. Get the rep’s name – you can look them up on the school’s website and follow up with a thank you email or with additional questions.


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