Students across the greater Roanoke Valley can plan for the future at the annual College Fair on Sept. 19 at the Salem Civic Center. Dozens of representatives from two-year and four-year colleges and universities, as well as representatives from career, technical and business schools will be on hand to meet with prospective students.
The event is sponsored by the Roanoke City, Roanoke County and Salem City Public School systems and there is no cost to attend.
All students are encouraged to register online at www.gotocollegefairs.com prior to attending the fair. Advance registering provides basic information to participating colleges in advance, so students do not have to spend time completing multiple information sheets. Once registered, students will receive a barcode/admittance pass that they should bring with them to the fair.
NOTE: There are many college fairs listed on the registration website — be sure to select the event on Sept. 19 at the Salem Civic Center.
GETTING THE MOST FROM THE COLLEGE DAY FAIR
Before the fair, spend time determining what kind of school best suits you. This major process takes time. Remember, there is no solitary “right” choice; there should be a number of “right” colleges. Your parents, counselor, and career center specialist offer many resources to help in your research.
Review the list of participating colleges and with the help of your parents and counselor, decide which schools to visit at the fair. Visit those first, then explore others.
Study the “Questions to Ask in College Decision Making” below and prepare your own personal list of questions to ask college admissions representatives.
Register in advance at www.gotocollegefairs.com and be sure to bring the barcode pass to speed up the information process.
Obtain from college/university admissions representatives personal business cards or pertinent college application materials as needed.
After the fair, if you are really interested in a school, write a thank-you note, using the representative’s name you contacted at the fair.
Follow-up also includes the all-important campus visits and talking with students and former students of the colleges. They know firsthand what the academic climate is like.
Finally, your goal is to find a college where you have the greatest chance of enjoying academic achievement in a satisfying living environment. A realistic assessment of your personal abilities and interests coupled with reliable information about your researched colleges will allow you to apply to colleges where you are most likely to be accepted and, more importantly, be successful!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO ASK IN COLLEGE DECISION MAKING
Where can I get an application? What is the application fee and deadline?
What do tuition, room and board costs?
How important are ninth, tenth, and eleventh year grades? Senior year grades?
Is it better to get an A in a regular course or a B or C in an AP/IB course?
What are your GPA and SAT statistics?
Are achievement tests required?
How can high school courses count for college credit?
Are there any other requirements? Do I need to take any special high school courses?
How much math/science and foreign languages should I take?
What kind of recommendations do you look for? School, community, work?
Do you have a summer transition program?
Are interviews required? Are there group or individual interviews and tours?
When is it best to visit the school? Can I stay overnight in the dorm and visit classes?
Is there on-campus housing? Is on-campus housing coed?
What percentage of students live on campus? How are roommates selected?
What is the social atmosphere?
What type of organizations and clubs are there?
Is it easy for freshmen to get involved in activities and mix with upperclassman?
Can students have cars on campus? Do I need a car?
What is the percentage of minority students? International students? Special Needs students?
What student services are offered?
What sports do you participate in? Intercollegiate, club, and intramural?
What are some of the other extracurricular activities?
How good is the dorm security? What are the campus statistics?
What percentage of students study abroad?
How large is your school?
How close is it to local life?
How large is the city or town?
Is on campus parking available?
What is the school culture?
Is your college two or four years? What degrees do you offer?
How large are classes? Student/teacher ratio? How easy is it to get to know faculty?
How do you assign faculty advisors to students?
Do I need a computer? Is there easy access to computer labs?
What kind of academic support is available? Tutors, learning labs, writing centers?
Are first year courses large lectures? Do professors or graduate students teach sections?
When must I choose a major?
What types of internships or co-op experiences are available?
What types of aid do you offer? Is aid academic (merit) or need-based?
What percentage of the students receive aid?
How do I find out about grants and scholarships offered by your school?
Are there deadlines, and what are they, for submitting FAFSA forms?
What else do I need to submit to be considered for all kinds of financial aid?
Do I need to file a FAFSA to get a campus job?
What percentage of students work? How easy is it to obtain a job on campus?