4 Key Questions to Ask at College Fairs

College fairs are a great way to get to know a school and the people who represent it. But what are the best questions to ask? Here are four to start with.

There are many questions you can ask the college representatives you meet at college fairs (or similar events). Overall, you want to keep your questions informed, specific, and polite. Don’t treat the college admission reps like it is the Spanish Inquisition and come with too many questions to ask! Here are four key questions to get you started at your next college fair. (Also take a look at these campus visit questions if you want more inspiration!)

1. How much is the typical financial aid package?

And/or you could ask: What percentage of students have their financial need met? What’s the average student debt? Basically any questions that will help you get a sense of what the school does with financial aid and how they make their education more affordable!  It’s always important to figure out your ability to afford a certain college. Granted, you won’t get your real financial aid package until after you’ve been accepted by a college, but you can get an idea from representatives at college fairs (or by using the Net Price Calculator on the school’s website). Even though the generic answers won’t necessarily match what happens to you specifically, these questions can help you learn more about the school and compare your options. If you work hard and apply for financial aid, you are bound to get some money to help pay for this costly expense in your life.

Related: How to Get Financial Aid for College: The Ultimate Guide

2. What events and activities does the school offer students?

Besides all the extracurricular options on campus, many colleges put on performances and host events for students. Colleges are aware of the stress and struggle of higher education, and offer ways to cool down and relax after a stressful time, like fun midterm study breaks or having therapy animals come to campus. There may also be cool major and/or career–related events, like guest speakers, panels/Q&As, and movie screenings. Ask about any unique events or traditions the college might do too.

3. How are the classes taught?

Are we talking hands-on classes? Tech-heavy classrooms? More project-based assignments or lots of essay writing? Even though your classes will obviously differ a lot, depending on the teacher and subject, these are helpful questions to ask an admission rep, so you can get a sense of what the academic vibe is like at the school and if it fits with what you like. There are different types of students in the world, and each of them learns a little differently. Think about the way you learn. If you’re looking at a really big state university, can the school still meet your needs if you like to learn in small groups? Does the trade school you’re looking at do a lot of hands-on assignments in the classroom and for homework?

4. What is on-campus transportation like?

This is kind of a specific question. But, personally, I think it’s important to know, especially if you live on a gigantic campus. Getting to and from classes and your dorm can get tricky if they’re really far apart! Some large campuses offer buses to drop students off at different buildings located on campus, or shuttles that can take students to local businesses to do their shopping. Or maybe the college has a bike-share program. Also, as an incoming freshman, it’s good to know if freshmen are allowed to have cars on campus grounds. This might sound weird, but certain colleges give parking spaces to upperclassmen first!

Related: How to Talk to Admission Officers in Person and Over E-mail

When talking to college representatives at college fairs, make sure you display confidence and, hopefully, a good bit of knowledge about the school, due to researching it a little ahead of time. (This is almost always impressive.) Also, if you are interested in the college, make sure you fill out one of their cards. They can send you more information, and you can decide whether it is worth a campus visit. After the visit, you might even become interested in applying. Hope this advice helps at your next college fair!

Once you find colleges you’re interested in at a college fair, come back here and start gathering more info on them using our College Search tool.

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About Emily Barylske

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