The fall is a hectic time for high school seniors planning to attend college the following year. College-bound hopefuls are filling out applications, writing entrance essays, gathering letters of recommendations, and sifting through financial aid and scholarship possibilities. The fall is also the time when school districts host college fairs, and PSD is no different. The PSD In-State College Fair is Sept. 18 at Rocky Mountain High School from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and the Out-of-State College Fair is Oct. 9 at Poudre High School from 6 to 8 p.m.

College fairs are not for seniors only—juniors, sophomores, and even freshmen should take advantage of this opportunity to speak with admissions officers, pick up brochures, and ask specific questions. The freshman year is definitely not too early to start thinking about college choices.
Some students choose to roam through the college fair, but to get the most out of what is offered, you should come prepared.

  • Decide in advance which college admissions officers you want to speak with—refer to the list of participating colleges and your preferred college list. You probably have time to visit with 10 or 12 (8-10?) officers, so prioritize accordingly. Arrive a few minutes early at the fair to locate the schools you want to visit.
  • If possible, visit the Web sites of your preferred schools to get a feel for each (programs, admissions criteria, philosophy, student profiles/attributes etc.). Prepare a list of questions for each school.
  • Go to CollegeFairs.com to see if you can register electronically for the fair you are attending. This is a convenient, automated method to share information with the admissions officers about yourself. If pre-electronic registration is not an option, consider preparing pre-printed labels with your name, e-mail, and home address to place on the sign-in and mailing list sheets at each college table.
  • Take along a few copies of your high school resume to share with officers as appropriate. If you do not have one, consider composing one before the fair—include your academics, clubs, sports, and community service as well as any work experience. Be sure to have a notepad and pen, and a folder to collect brochures. Ask for business cards of the officers, or write down their names and contact information for later follow up.
  • Dress to make a favorable impression; practice shaking hands, making eye contact, and introducing yourself confidently.
  • For your top school choices, ask the officer if you can contact them via e-mail in the future.

In addition to the two PSD college fairs, a national college fair will be held in Denver on Oct. 7 at the Colorado Convention Center from 1 to 4 p.m. Over 200 college representatives will be available at this fair—a great opportunity for college hopefuls. Read more about national fair at http://www.nacacnet.org/college-fairs/FallNCF/Pages/Denver.aspx.

Once you have attended the fairs, don’t forget the PSD Post-Secondary Planning Night on Oct. 15 at Fort Collins High School from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Students and their families can choose from a number of informative sessions on everything to do with the college planning process and more.