College Prep : Be Prepared For College Fairs

When I first visited a college fair, I realized how preparation can increase chances and deflate the time of standing in line! I’m going to share some tips with you about what you should do to have a successful and less time-consuming time at a college fair!

The first thing I want you to do a bit of research. Understand what schools are expected to be in attendance, which ones have the major you’re interested in getting your degree in, and if they are offering instant acceptances. Those are the ones you want to target FIRST.

Lastly, make sure you understand the parking arrangements for the occasion because you would hate to be somewhere like Downtown Detroit and realize that parking on the left side is $50 but parking on the right side of the building is about $15. So map that out.


  • Practice smiling in the mirror and making eye contact with yourself.
  • Feel free to speak to yourself in the mirror so that you can help adjust your facial expressions that display a more interested and approachable face. Feel free to expand your vocabulary as well; which would also be good for your essay.
  • Find you a designated family member or friend that’s willing to wait in line for you while you’re in another line.
  • Do a bit of research on the schools you’re interested in and prepare questions that you want to ask those schools. If you just decide to go and walk up to any school’s table and say a generic question, it’s not just boring you but it bores the reps. Also, you may run into a school that doesn’t even have a program for the major you’re interested in and guess what…you just wasted both of your time, especially within waiting and standing in line. I’ll never forget that I was in the line for Spelman College and I noticed there were boys randomly getting in line. I was thinking maybe they were getting information for a female friend or relative. One of the boys in front of me was next and he asked the lady to tell him about her school and then he asked what the school had to offer to a young black man looking to get a Bachelors in Business? The woman looked over at me with her eyes and then she looked down the line and asked the young men to step out of line if they were looking for admissions into Spelman for themselves because it’s a female-centered school. It was kinda embarrassing for them because you could see they had no clue…but it was also a waste of their time and energy because he and I were in that line together for at least 45 minutes. Don’t do this to yourselves.

People figure you just go however as long as you’re not in pajamas and a bonnet but come on. You can do better than that if you want to be noticed AND remembered. So here’s a list of things I suggest you wear.

  • Fellas…Wear a vest, cardigan, or blazer. You can wear jeans, slacks, or dress pants. Wear a long tie or bowtie. No gym shoes. Your hairstyle doesn’t really matter as long as it’s clean and neat. Make an effort.
  • Ladies…Wear a blouse or a creative shirt and a blazer. You can wear jeans, slacks, or dress pants but please leave the leggings at home. Feel free to wear skirts but don’t let them ride high up your thighs. Wear some casual shoes and not gym shoes nor heels. Yes…no heels. It’s going to be a lot of walking and standing. Save your feet, ladies! Your hairstyle should be clean and neat as well. Make an effort. Something I want to mention, just for life in general, is to tone down the nails and thick long faux lashes.
  • Look ironed, clean, and presentable.


  • Print business card-sized labels that have your Full Name, Address, Phone Number, Email Address, Name of Your High School, Graduation Class, Accumulative GPA, The Interested Major, and the kinds of sports/clubs/groups/etc. you’re into. This will keep you from having to constantly write these details on the info cards of each school. Some have stopped worrying about having you fill out an info card and have you fill out details online THOUGH you still want them to have something physical in their hands to keep.
  • Something else you can have, or in exchange for labels, are business cards! Make sure you have paperclips or a stapler, too so that you can attach it to an info card if they have them. The goal is to get something into their hands from you that speaks about you. I can’t tell you all how many times so far thatI have been contacted because of my card and been invited to events, given a large scholarship, and even sent “swag”/paraphernalia.
  • Most places have a vendor like Army & Navy, etc. usually supplies a little tote bag to help with you having something to place your pamphlets, etc. into. Though it’s good to have a College Fair Survival Bag with a water bottle or two, some chips, a sugar snack, etc. with you in a bag.

Okay so here’s something important to understand.

  • Get there early so you can knock out your top colleges before the lines pile in.
  • Being early means getting the best parking spot and the most affordable parking prices. I will never forget that when we came back out of a college fair once, the parking went from $10 to $75 O_o
  • Have someone with you that will wait in another line for you so that it can cut time.
  • Map out the stations and have your friend or relative go long lines while you handle the short lines. That way you’re most likely not going to bump heads on being in one line while needing to be in another.

— AlonaLeoine

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