What to Expect at a College Fair in New York City

by Bethany Goldszer | Last Updated: April 8, 2023

If you’re a high school student in the New York City area, chances are you’re starting to think about college. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to decide where to apply. That’s why attending college fairs can be incredibly helpful. These events allow you to meet representatives from various colleges and universities, learn about their programs and offerings, and ask any questions you may have. Plus, many fairs offer workshops and seminars on topics such as financial aid, essay writing, and college admissions. In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of attending college fairs in New York City and provide tips on how to make the most of your experience.

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New York City College Fairs

New York City, with its large number of high school students per capita, provides an ideal location for colleges and universities to engage in college fairs and serve as a valuable resource for students exploring their higher education options. Fortunately, there are several annual college fairs hosted in the city that can assist students in navigating the overwhelming process of selecting the right school. To get you started on your college search journey, we’ve compiled a list of some recent college fairs held in New York City, along with their respective websites.llege search journey.

  1. NACAC National College Fair New York City – https://www.nacacfairs.org/attend/national-college-fairs/new-york-city/
  2. Big Apple College Fair – https://www.nacacfairs.org/attend/big-apple-college-fair/
  3. Idealist Grad Fair New York City – https://www.idealist.org/en/grad-fairs/new-york-city
  4. College Access Fair: Exploring College Options – https://www.collegefairguide.com/nysacac-exploring-college-options/
  5. STEM College and Career Fair – https://nycstemcollegecareerfair.org/
  6. SUNY College Fair – New York City – https://www.suny.edu/student/events/event.cfm?eventTitle=suny-new-york-city-college-fair-2019&id=12581
  7. CUNY Big Apple College and Career Fair – https://www.cuny.edu/admissions/undergraduate/events/big-apple-college-and-career-fair/
  8. Latino College Expo – https://www.thecollegeexpo.org/events/nyc
  9. United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Empower Me Tour – https://uncf.org/events/event/uncf-new-york-empower-me-tour

The college fairs take place throughout the year, so plan early to ensure you add these to your calendar.

How to Prepare for a College Fair in New York City

A college fair is an event where representatives from different colleges and universities gather to provide information about their respective schools to prospective students and their families. At these fairs, students and parents have the opportunity to learn about a variety of schools from all over the country in one convenient location. However, college fairs can be overwhelming and intimidating due to the sheer number of people and booths present. Long lines may make it difficult to speak with admissions officers, leaving you with nothing but piles of glossy brochures. 

Below, you’ll learn how to best prepare to help you stand out, build relationships with admissions officers, and gather the information you need to make informed decisions about your future.

Research the colleges beforehand

Before the fair, get a list of colleges attending and highlight the college representatives that you want to meet. Do your research to help you speak to the particulars about the college (e.g., major of study, sports, activities, etc.) that pique your interest. Visit their websites and social media pages. Plan your route, starting with colleges in which you’re most interested and working your way to the ones you’re interested in the least.

Dress appropriately and bring necessary materials

 All high school students should have a resume – a one-page snapshot of your academic profile, work experience, extracurricular activities, awards, and interests. Write and polish your resume and bring at least 30 copies to hand to admissions officers. Admissions officers will be impressed that you came prepared with a resume. Also, it gives them something to read while returning home on the plane. The resume can be added to your college file and will begin your trail of demonstrated interest.

Purchase adhesive address labels. On them, print your name, phone number, email, address, and high school and graduation year. Save time by sticking the labels to information request cards and sign-in sheets on college representatives’ tables.

Prepare questions to ask the college representatives.

One of the most important things to do before attending a college fair is to prepare a list of questions to ask the college representatives. This will help you gather the information you need to make an informed decision about which colleges to apply to.

When you meet college representatives, smile, shake hands, and introduce yourself. Give them your resume and explain your interest in this particular school. It is essential that you have questions to ask. Being prepared with questions shows your enthusiasm and excitement about the school. A rule of thumb is to avoid asking questions that can easily be found on their website. Some questions you may want to ask include:

  • What majors and programs does the college offer?
  • What is the student-to-faculty ratio? What is the average class size?
  • What is the campus culture like?
  • What types of extracurricular activities are available?
  • What makes your school unique when compared to others?
  • I am interested in majoring in Z. What type of internship opportunities are available to students with this major?
  • What types of need-based and merit scholarships do you provide?

Don’t be afraid to ask any questions you may have, as this is your opportunity to learn more about the colleges you are interested in.

Attend information sessions and workshops

In addition to speaking with college representatives, attending information sessions and workshops can be a great way to learn more about the college application process and specific colleges. These sessions may cover topics such as financial aid, essay writing, and campus life. Be sure to check the schedule beforehand and plan which sessions you want to attend. It’s also a good idea to bring a notebook and pen to take notes during these sessions.

Follow up with the colleges after the fair.

Following up with the colleges you are interested in after the fair is also important. This can include sending a thank-you email to the representatives you spoke with, asking any additional questions you may have, and expressing your continued interest in the school. Adding the representatives on LinkedIn can also help you stay connected and informed about any updates or events related to the college. This shows your dedication and can help you stand out in the application process.

Finally, before leaving a college representative’s table, be sure to pick up their business card and any college brochures that catch your interest. These will come in handy when following up with the representative after the event and asking additional questions.

Conclusion + Next Steps

Successfully navigating college fairs in New York City is a crucial first step in narrowing down your college options. Once you’ve gathered information and talked to representatives, it’s important to take the next step in the college application process. To help you do this, download a list of questions to ask college representatives, as well as resume templates to send to your area admissions officer. Additionally, access the College Fair Recap Worksheet to keep track of the colleges you spoke with and important information gathered during the event. By taking advantage of these resources, you’ll be on your way to a successful college application process.

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Bethany Goldszer is top college admissions and financial aid expert. She's been featured in HuffPost, USA Today, Newsday, Queens Gazette, and Official Black Wall Street & voted Best of Long Island. Faced with the overwhelming stress of applying, getting admitted to and financing her University of Chicago education, she started Stand Out College Prep LLC in 2012 so that no student or parent would have to go through this process alone. Over the last 15 years, Bethany has worked with over 1,500 students, helping them and their parents get into their top choice colleges and secure more than $20M in financial aid and scholarships. And each year, she continues to help more students stand out in the college admissions process and their parents navigate financial aid and scholarships.