Attending A College Fair?
Here are some tips from the other side of the table.
The Fall season means the start of classes for all the students at Multnomah, but for me Fall is the beginning of "travel season". Each year I spend most of September and October attending college fairs in California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Each night I get the same questions and give out tons of information. I also pick up on a lot of common themes. By this point, I’ve noticed there are a lot of students who know what they are doing - but even more who don’t have a clue!
So, below is a list of tips that will help all you high-schoolers (and all you parents) who are now entering into the "College Fair Zone"…
1. Don’t be afraid – we won’t bite.
Us college admissions counselors are usually pretty good at selling our schools, but we realize that you are mostly at a College Fair to gather information. Don’t be afraid to talk to us and learn more about the schools we represent. We’re there to inform you. That said, we can come on a little strong at times, but that’s only because we LOVE our schools. (I LOVE Multnomah!)
2. Know what you want? Ask for it!
Not every school is going to have the major or area of study you need. Don’t be afraid to ask each table if they have the major you’re looking for. If they don’t meet your needs feel free to move on. Also, admissions counselors usually know of other schools (especially in their geographic area) that do have what you’re looking for. And, if you ask at enough booths you may find the college of your dreams. Want Nursing? Mathmatics? Video Game Design? Multnomah doesn’t have those majors. Want Psychology? Intercultural Studies? History? Youth Ministry? Bible? Then you want Multnomah!
3. Be open to options you may not have considered before.
As you go through the fair, don’t limit yourself to a specific denomination, location or even price range. See what other schools are out there, gather their information and take a look at what they might have to offer. This is especially important if you have NO idea what you want to study. Check out what’s out there! You might get some great ideas and be pointed in a new direction you never thought existed.
Little known fact – I didn’t even know what Theology was before I came to Multnomah – and I ended up graduating with a degree in it!
4. Don’t be afraid…to fill out a response card.
Most booths will have a response card that you can fill out for more information. Don’t be afraid of it. Yes, that means that those schools will send you mail and e-mails with information about their institution, but some of that information can be very helpful as you wade through the decision of where to go. Plus, once you’ve ruled a school out – let them know and they’ll stop sending you stuff. Don’t worry. We don’t take it personally…most of the time!
5. Take the information and pens – they’re free!
I can’t emphasize this enough. The items on the tables are for YOU! You don’t have to feel like your stealing if you take a pen but don’t talk to us. Here’s a secret: We want you to take the pen and anything else on the table (other than our own personal property like laptops and water bottles). I mean, don’t get me wrong, we’d love to talk to you as well…but go ahead…take the pen. Really, it’s ok. Besides – Multnomah’s pens are quite cool. Why wouldn’t you want to take one?
6. Never heard of the school? Ask the counselor for an overview.
Counselors know their schools well, so it’s alright if you don’t! Just ask us for the basics. We’ll know what to say and then you’ll be informed. If you like what you hear, keep asking questions and chatting with us, or even fill out a card. Don’t like what you hear? Say thanks and move on to the next booth. Which brings me to my next tip…
7. Don’t be afraid to go to the next booth.
Once you have your information, feel free to move to the next college. My prayer (and I’m sure I can speak for the rest of the Christian college counselors) is that all the students who come into these college fairs leave one step closer to knowing where they want to go to school. But that means getting out there, not being afraid and just talking to the folks there. And for sure you should come by and chat with me. You never know, Multnomah could be the school or YOUR dreams.
8. Don’t forget to pray!
Making the choice about which college to go to can be hard. One thing I like to remind students is that they need to be consulting the Lord. After all, He can see the future and knows the college that will fit you the best, help you grow and prepare you for whatever He has in store. You should totally talk to someone who has that kind of information on your future, shouldn’t you? I know He’d love to chat with you about it.
Your Friendly Admissions Counselor,