October 2011 E-NEWSLETTER

posted Oct 9, 2011, 1:21 AM by Glenda Durano   [ updated Oct 9, 2011, 7:16 AM ]


The Albuquerque College Fair is Sunday, October 16th from 1 to 3 pm at the Albuquerque Convention Center.  Hope Christian School is hosting a Christian College Fair on Wednesday, October 26th from 6 to 8 pm. Both of these events are wonderful opportunities for students to speak to college admissions representatives, show “demonstrated interest,” and further investigate whether or not a school might be a great fit.

        Unfortunately, however, many students don’t prepare for college fairs, and therefore, end up wasting a couple of hours wandering around tables and picking up about 20 pounds of propaganda from schools that are far from the right fit. 

        In order to make the most of a college fair, first of all develop some college criteria.  Decide what YOU want in a school regarding size, majors, location, etc.  Think this through carefully and create your parameters based on what your academic and social needs are.  After you’ve developed some criteria, if at all possible, explore the list of participating schools (for the October 16th fair, visit  http://www.rmacac.org/index.php/events/show/7), research the schools, and decide which college representatives might be worth visiting. 

        If you walk into a college fair “cold,” it’s very easy to become overwhelmed and think to yourself, “This is overwhelming!  I’ll just go to my default school.”  Avoid panic through preparation.  College fairs can open up some great options.

         Fewer than 15% of students in New Mexico attend out of state schools.  Many schools (especially small, private, liberal arts institutions) would love to have bragging rights about having a student from New Mexico.  For this reason, some schools will offer considerable financial aid to attract a student from New Mexico.   Remember, just because you haven’t “heard of” a school before doesn’t mean it isn’t a great university.  Conversely, just because you’ve “heard of” a school, doesn’t mean it’s a great fit for you.  Ask yourself, “Is this school right for me?  Does it have what I need? Is it worth exploring further?” A college fair is a terrific opportunity to explore an “unknown” school that seems to meet your criteria.

        Prior to attending a college fair, set up a college email account.  That will be the address you will give the college representativesJohn_Doe@gmail.com makes a much more positive impression than Dirtydevil@gmail.com.  Some college representatives will also ask to “friend” you on Facebook.  Make sure your Facebook account is something that would work in your favor.  Additionally, in order to save time at the fair, you may find it beneficial to create self stick labels that contain your legal name, mailing address, email address, phone number, year of graduation, and intended area of study.  You can stick these on the inquiry cards instead of filling them out by hand.

         When you arrive at the college fair, look at the map and find your “schools of interest.”  Visit those tables first, asking questions that aren’t readily answerable on the website. (Prepare these in advance.)  In addition to this being an opportunity for you to investigate the school, remember the admissions representative is also sizing you up.  Be professional and courteous.  Come prepared with a list of questions.  Listen to the representative, take notes, and collect business cards.  

         Many college fairs also have presentations on financial aid or other college-related topics.  Usually these presentations are either before the fair or near the end.  Check the schedule to see what is available. 

        After the fair, follow up with those admissions representatives you met.  It’s a good idea to write a brief “thank you” note, and, if you have more questions, give them a call.

         College fairs can be a great tool in college planning, however to make the most of the fair, a student should be well-prepared.  A little planning can go a long way.  Take responsibility for your future so you will fare well at the fair. 

        As always, please forward this newsletter to other friends who might be interested in college planning information.  Do remember to check out the “upcoming deadlines” section of the website for a monthly calendar of what you should be doing this month to stay on track with the college planning process. 

        Additionally, you can “like” my FACEBOOK page (College Advising and Planning) where I post interesting articles and videos about college planning.

        For more information about College Advising and Planning Services or to inquire about our individual college planning services, please check out our website or call us at (505) 918-7669.