33 Questions to Ask at a College Fair

Padya Paramita

33 Questions to Ask at a College Fair

College fairs provide you with the chance to talk to representatives from multiple schools under one roof. As a soon-to-be college applicant, this is an opportunity for you to learn more about available programs and extracurricular opportunities, while getting an overview of campus life at various institutions across the country. So, it comes as no surprise that you might be wondering about the best questions to ask at a college fair

College fairs can take place at your school, at a local conference center, or even online. Go prepared with pen, notebook, and a positive attitude, and get ready to introduce yourself and talk to the admissions officers. And most importantly, let them know you’re interested by inquiring about different aspects of the colleges that pique your curiosity. To guide you through making the most of your experience, I have outlined questions to ask at a college fair, along with how to take advantage of your interactions, and how your participation at college fairs is viewed inside the admissions office.  

List of Questions to Ask at a College Fair

The best way to prepare questions to ask at a college fair is to consider what you want from your undergraduate experience. Are you seeking a strong film major or a well-funded athletic program? Do you prefer small class sizes? Think about what resources you would like on a dream campus. Write down the topics that you’re most curious about and that really matter to you.

Use the questions listed below as a starting point for what you can ask admissions representatives at these events.

General Admissions Questions

  • Is there something in particular that your admissions readers look for when evaluating applications?
  • What kind of student would not be a good fit for your school?
  • Do you recommend applying Early Decision/Early Action over Regular Decision?
  • What are some of the best ways to engage with the admissions office as a prospective student (visit/information session/social media, etc)?

Questions About Academics

  • What is unique about your school’s XYZ department?
  • Can you tell me about this particular major?
  • What is the most common major at the school?
  • Do you admit students based on which major they have chosen? Are there certain concentrations that are more competitive than others for admission?
  • How is X major different at this college than at others?
  • What are some advantages and disadvantages to the average class size at your school?
  • How accessible are the professors?

Questions About Extracurriculars and Student Organizations

  • What extracurricular options exist for students interested in XYZ?
  • How easy is it for students to start their own club at the college?
  • What are the options available for intramural and club sports?
  • How involved are students in the local community?
  • Are the X clubs competitive to get into?

Questions About Campus and Social Life

  • Does the school have a big athletic culture? What is a typical game day like?
  • How does the presence or absence of Greek life affect the campus community?
  • What do students typically do on weekends?
  • Can you tell me what you enjoy most about the city/town/area where the school is?
  • What are the dorms like? Are there other housing options?
  • Do most students eat in dining halls? How are the dining services?
  • What kind of safety measures protect the campus?
  • What are some popular restaurants and shops near campus?

Questions About Available Resources

  • What kind of support services are available to students?
  • How common is it for students to receive financial aid or scholarships? (If you're interested in knowing the best value colleges, this is a great resource!)
  • Are there any major-specific financial aid or scholarship programs?
  • Is it easy for students to find jobs on campus?
  • What career services are available?
  • What are some examples of internship opportunities received by X majors?
  • What are the on-campus libraries like?
  • How would you describe the college gym/fitness center?
  • How large/influential is the alumni network?

These are just a few examples of questions to ask at a college fair. There might be other topics that you want to learn about further. However, try to avoid yes/no questions and answers that you can easily find with a quick Google search. Show the school that you’re actually interested in acquiring information about their offerings.

How to Use a College Fair to Your Advantage

Preparing yourself with questions to ask at a college fair is a wonderful practice, as college fairs introduce you to admissions officers and put you on their radar. While you shouldn’t bombard representatives with unnecessary inquiries, you should at least introduce yourself, ask them about their role, and discuss factors that might matter to you when choosing a college. Because you don’t want the interaction to be awkward or directionless, prepared questions act as a guide for you to start talking and learning more about what each school has to offer.

Be sure that you arrive with an open mind. Sometimes your college fair will feature schools that you have never heard of and so you might be inclined to write them off immediately. Who knows, some of the less selective schools could end up as interesting safety options for you. Or, a previously unfamiliar college might actually offer unique and beneficial programs in your choice of major. So, don’t just stick to prestigious universities everyone has heard of, because college fairs can provide you with the opportunity to uncover new favorite schools!

Arrive early, bring materials to take notes, and don’t go out of your way to brag about all your accomplishments. This isn’t an interview, so don’t say everything about yourself and expect the admissions reps to remember. Just stay relaxed and be genuine. This is meant to be the first introduction you have to a school, so if you’re truly interested in an institution, you can always follow-up and ask any questions that you might have forgotten while at the fair. 

How College Fairs Play into Your Admissions Decision

When thinking about the questions to ask at a college fair, you might be wondering whether or not you are being evaluated on the spot as you talk to the representatives of admissions offices. Truthfully, unless you follow-up and keep in touch, chances are that the people you meet may not remember you. But at the same time, the person could end up being the one to read your application materials. So, while attending a college fair and asking good questions won’t make or break your application, it could play a role in conveying your demonstrated interest in the college. You can find a list of schools who monitor demonstrated interest here. If one or more of them happens to be at your local college fair, these are definitely people especially worth talking to and keeping in touch with as you move forward to apply.

Other Important Factors

However, a campus visit is seen as a far bigger display of commitment than just attending a college fair. If a tour is feasible for you, most of the colleges that track demonstrated interest want to see you visit information sessions, attend open houses, and participate in prospective student weekends. The questions to ask at college fairs are a good place to start - use college fairs as a launching pad to familiarizing yourself with what’s available at the school so you can ask even more specific questions if you visit campus. You can also reference college fairs when writing a supplemental essay explaining your interest in a school or during an interview.

That said, demonstrating interest towards a school only provides a slight boost for admission, even at institutions that pay special attention to it. What matters the most is making sure you shine inside and outside the classroom - work hard in your courses, pursue leadership positions in your activities, and write strong essays about how you would contribute to the campus and its community. 

College fairs are an effective way to get further acquainted with a school you’ve had your eyes on or for introductions to institutions that may find their way onto your list. And as you think about the questions to ask at a college fair, make sure that you still work to develop other parts of your application profile, because when the time comes, a strong activities list or supplemental essay could be what ends up giving you the edge over the competition!

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