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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Letter to the Editor

Column: college fair tips and tricks


Throughout the fall season, high school students have ample opportunity to attend college fairs nationwide. With growing pressure to make college decisions early in the school year, seniors especially are recommended to attend as many as possible. But why are these fairs so valuable for future students? What are those essential questions students should ask?

Within these past few weeks, multiple college fairs gave opportunities for students to meet with college representatives from around the nation. Representatives from UCs, CSUs, Ivy Leagues, and NACCAPs traveled to Fresno for various college fairs, sharing a common goal – connecting with potential applicants. Each college differed in expectations and visions.

[/media-credit] College representatives are ready to answer questions regarding applications and programs

Juan Villegas, the UC Merced Admissions Representative, transferred from El Camino College to UC Merced. He plans to receive a Ph.D. in education literature.

“We tend to create innovators,” Villegas said. “we tend to create students that are nimble, we tend to create students who are problem solvers, they are not just ready to work, they are ready to create new ways of working, they are ready to create jobs.”

Andy Hernandez, Yale Alumni and Admission Consultant, has worked with students, as a college consultant, for many years. He transferred to San Jose State University in 1999 and, in 2010, received a Doctor of Education from the University of San Francisco.

“Pursue your interests, your passions,” Hernandez said. “because it is gonna show on your application; the rule of thumb for extracurriculars is quality over quantity. How do you measure the quality? It is not a set number of hours; it is the work in those hours. Was there anything special you did? What did you do?”

Each College has a unique vision for the students enrolled on their campuses. It is up to the student to decide which school of thought they wish to pursue. 

Five key questions for engaging a college recruiter

  1. What their SAT policy is?
  2. What do they do to help aid the student financially?
  3. What makes college stand out, and why is the college special?
  4. Who has gone to that college, and who are their famous alumni?
  5. How many people get a job within a year of graduating?

The Fresno Area College Night is one of the biggest college fairs here in the city of Fresno. Multiple Colleges come together in Fresno for one night to connect with students of Fresno. Although it is the college’s mission to connect with students, students can find it beneficial to take initiative and network with the colleges they are interested in.

The students there understood a simple truth – they needed the college more than the college needed them. To stand out to these colleges, they tasked themselves with building connections and remaining animated throughout the night. 

[/media-credit] Going with family can help you find answers to questions that you did not think of

They avoided the adrenaline rush projected by the crowd and scouted not only the colleges that were present but also the people who were interested in those colleges. They took it upon themselves to make a strong first impression, which allowed them to be noticed.

By having a series of questions prepared, you can gain knowledge while also standing out from the crowd. By gaining some of this knowledge about the college representative you are talking to, you can decide whether or not you are interested.

A grave mistake many students at these fairs make is not acquiring the contact information of the representatives of the colleges they are interested in. Ironically, another mistake students may make is getting pamphlets or the contact information of colleges they are not interested in. 

To avoid having to handle an unnecessary amount of pamphlets and an information overload, it is best to stay conservative in the number of college booths visited. This allows students not to have to deal with an unnecessary number of pamphlets that will end up in the bin.

Right before walking out, when the chatting starts to fade and before the colleges begin to pack up, be sure to double down on the colleges that resonate the most with you. Return to those representatives and engage in a conversation with them — try to build and maintain a relationship with them. 

Eight tips to follow prior to going to a college fair

  1. Do some research
    • You want to know which colleges are going to be there and what events might be going on during the fair.
  2. Have or make a college list
    • Focusing on specific colleges you are interested in makes the most of the limited amount of time the fair goes on.
  3. Come up with a game plan
    • Look through the itinerary, see what seminars might interest you, and make yourself a schedule so you can pace yourself.
  4. Dress for the occasion and be well groomed
    • These fairs are for networking with the colleges that you desire to enter. At the very least, dress to impress.
  5. Make sure to have eaten
    • You do not want an upset stomach or lower energy; you want to be animated when at a college fair.
  6. Arrive early
    • To arrive early is more beneficial than appearing late; it allows you to have great parking, time to find the venue, and time to double-check the itinerary or any handouts given to you.
  7. Practice an entrance
    • You want to be radiant; practicing a firm handshake and a memorable first impression can go a long way.
  8. Do not make any other plans before or after this event
    • Focus on the college fair; it is an opportunity to connect with people that may dictate your life’s direction for the next
      [/media-credit] Be respectful to every person at the fair, don’t be afraid to talk to new people

      four or more years. Stay focused and realize the significance of both the fair and the people you meet.

Three tips to follow after attending a college fair

  1. Stay connected
    • Maintaining a relationship with a college representative can prove beneficial; it is important to foster these connections to the best of your ability.
  2. Talk with alumni and students of the college you have a relationship with
    • Talking with multiple alumni and students of varying grades will allow for a greater perspective. It gives insight into what academic and social life at that college is like.
  3. Visit the colleges that interest you
    • Visit colleges allow for the opportunity to connect further with the college and with students/alumni; it also allows you to see if you are willing to spend the next four years of your life on that campus.

Many college fairs are held in Fresno throughout the fall season, so make sure to attend them while following these tips and tricks to leave the best impression you can on college representatives!

To read more from The Feather, go to Big Fresno Fair 2022 or Photojournalist shares life-changing experiences in Belize.

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About the Contributor
Antonio Ruelas, Journalist
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