Common App is excited to collaborate with the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) to help connect counselors, students, and their families with colleges and universities around the world through NACAC’s virtual college fairs this fall. Like so many pieces of the college search experience, college fairs are what students make of them. Here are some tips for encouraging your students to participate and get the most out of this opportunity.

1. Promote: Let students know the benefits of attending a college fair

College fairs provide an opportunity for students to engage with college admission representatives from hundreds of colleges and universities from around the country and globe.

Here’s what makes college fairs great:

  • Accessibility. College fairs bring the colleges directly to students and families -- and these days directly into their homes
  • Exposure. Students will discover colleges they’ve never heard of before
  • Connections. Students can speak directly with admissions representatives to have their questions answered

Insider tip: Check out NACAC’s promotional kit for counselors, with downloadable graphics and sample text you can use to get the word out.

2. Prepare: Provide students with college fair guidance

Think about past experiences of attending college fairs, as well as recent events you or your students have attended virtually. What tips do you have for how students can be active learners in an online event?

Here’s how to help your students get ready:

  • Before: Prior to the fair, encourage students to think about what they are looking for in a college. Big or small? Public or private? Special programs or majors? Proximity to home? The more they know about themselves and the type of college environment they are looking for, the easier it will be for them to target the schools they want to visit during the fair. Students should make a list of questions they will want to ask each college.

Students should register for the college fair in advance and review the list of colleges that will be attending.

Insider tip: Students can use filters to find colleges that meet their search criteria on Common App’s Explore Colleges page.

  • During: Encourage students to take notes during their conversations with each college they visit with so they can refer to those notes later! Remind students that quality is more important than quantity -- they will gain more from a few meaningful conversations than they will from trying to pop in and out of multiple college sessions.

Insider tip: Check out and share NACAC’s college fair tips and tips for international students.

  • After. Remind students that college fairs are just one piece of their college exploration. Students can continue learning about colleges by doing virtual campus visits and reviewing a college’s website. They can also find ways to connect with current faculty and students by following the college on social media. When they have questions, they can always reach out to the admissions representative they met during the college fair.

Insider tip: Students can access virtual campus tours and image galleries on Common App’s Explore Colleges page.

College fairs provide an opportunity for students to engage with college admission representatives from hundreds of colleges and universities from around the country and globe.

3. Preview. Attend NACAC’s virtual college fair for counselors

Prior to the fall virtual student fairs, NACAC is kicking off with a virtual college fair specifically for counselors on August 19. This is a great opportunity for you to get a preview of the student fairs. You’ll have a chance to connect with over 450 colleges and universities to ask your questions and hear updates.

The beginning of the school year is going to look different than years past. Students will be looking for new ways to explore colleges, and NACAC’s virtual college fairs are a great place to start.