If you’re reading this, you’re likely planning to continue your studies beyond the undergraduate level. Not only are you busy with your current schoolwork, but you spend much of your leftover time trying to plan the steps you should take to continue your education.
Being so busy, is it worth it for you to take the time to attend graduate school fairs? We checked with admissions professionals and most of them concur: Yes! But why?
Why You Should Attend Graduate School Fairs
Graduate school fairs are the best way to meet and talk with students from different schools in one place. You can get a feel from current students about their likes and dislikes, talk about class size, lab space, housing, things to do, etc. You can also ask about the current students’ experiences with internships, research or community service.
Not only will you meet students at the fair, but you’ll also have a chance to meet admissions officers and other personnel from a number of schools. As a bonus, the schools pay for the cross-country trip so you don’t have to!
If you attend a graduate school fair, you’ll come home with all kinds of information you can use to decide which school is right for you. You may also get answers to your questions on the spot or start a relationship with someone you can correspond with throughout your planning process—it’s the perfect networking opportunity!
Prepare Before the Fair
Before attending a fair, spend some time coming up with your hit list. Just like at a career fair, map which tables you’ll want to visit and prepare a few questions in advance to ask each representative who you’ll meet during the fair.
Be sure to present a professional appearance, as this is your first in-person impression. Dress professionally and appropriately for the event. Graciously accept any business cards and perhaps makes some notes on the back before proceeding to the next college—not only will your notes help you to remember what you learned, but it will also show the college representative that you’re engaged and authentically interested in their program.
What Should You Do After the Fair?
Allot yourself enough time to get all the information you need about the schools you are interested in. As soon as possible after the event, spend some time making notes and reviewing the information you received. Send a quick thank you email to each person you talked to, thanking them for their time. Just a few hours can put you ahead when deciding on a graduate school. When it comes to graduate school fairs, the benefits greatly outweigh the time spent.
A special thanks to Carolyn Booker, Ph.D., for her insight on this topic. Booker is the Senior Vice President for Educational Pathways at the American Dental Education Association.