“GRACE” serves as a unit working to further the Greater Atlanta Regional Network’s mission to generate greater collaboration between higher education stakeholders by promoting more efficient recruitment practices and adapting to changes in the college search process. Specific goals include:
Supporting improved connectivity with students by consulting on college fair planning initiatives, communication methods to improve fairs and high school visits, and how we can be visible resources to those involved in the college search process.
Working with high school counselors and higher education stakeholders to consolidate and coordinate fairs to decrease fair conflicts, implement a more manageable travel schedule for representatives, reduce travel fatigue, and provide increased transparency with college fair scheduling and high school visit processes.
Best Practices for College Fairs
Interested in hosting your own college fair? We are excited to work with you and generate connections with your students. Please refer to the below list to ensure your event is a success!
Before securing the date, please check both the Georgia PROBE Calendar and GARN Master Calendar to ensure the fair will not conflict with another in the state or region.
If you are the only school with students attending, please limit fair to no more than 2 hours. If multiple schools are attending, please limit the fair to no longer than 4 hours.
Please send invitations to a fall fair no later than August 15th, and no later than January 15th for a spring fair.
Please do not start morning fairs before 9:00 a.m., or end evening fairs later than 8:00 p.m.
Consolidated fairs, or PROBE fairs, are preferred for evening events. If you must schedule an evening fair, please thoroughly consider forming a “cluster” with a few other schools in your county or region. This will consolidate efforts and schools are welcome to rotate the location of the consolidated fair each year. Our committee is happy to assist with the development of a
“cluster” in your area.
Mini-fairs are becoming the most popular option for fairs hosted by individual schools. Please contact our committee to learn more about scheduling shorter fairs during the school day.
To allow students to better connect with higher education institutions, we ask they either bring bar codes with them to fairs that provide the opportunity for scanners to gather their contact information, or explain that individual colleges may have an opportunity for students to create a bar code at their table.
To ensure an RSVP list is correct, we ask a confirmation e-mail be sent to your list of colleges who have RSVP’d to attend the fair one week in advance of the fair.
If any changes are made to the fair (schedule, date, time, etc.), please communicate this with admissions representatives as soon as possible, and with a message devoted solely to communicating the change. For example, do not announce the re-scheduling of an event when reaching out about another topic.
Please provide the following details in the invitation and follow-up correspondence:
Start and end time
If food (meals or snacks) and beverages will be provided
Other logistics specific to location (will volunteers be on hand to help unload materials, is there a best entrance to use upon arrival, etc.)
Grade levels expected to attend fair
Schedule of events
Will students rotate through at different times?
Does the fair include breakout sessions?
Contact information of fair organizer
If the event space is climate controlled
The communicated start and end time must be strictly enforced by event host. A separate set-up time can be suggested, but a start time should indicate when students will enter the event space.
Prior to the event, it would be helpful to remind students to keep an open mind when deciding what tables to visit. We believe their experience is enriching if they can discuss both in-state and out-of-state options, public and private options, and more.
Please allow admissions representatives to park in the most convenient location possible on your campus.
Provide at least one chair per table for representatives.
Provide water for each representative.
Set up tables so that students do not walk behind representatives. This allows more space for materials behind tables and less distraction throughout the event.
If combining a fair with additional programming for the evening, please consider hosting the college fair first; rather than waiting until the end of the first program to start the fair.
Rectangular tables for the win! Circular tables make it more difficult to communicate with students and it is harder to control the flow of people and materials throughout the event. Also when setting up tables, reps prefer to either be back to back or not allow students to walk behind them.
Admissions representatives are trained to ask questions and connect with students who visit their table. Unfortunately, worksheets that promote scavenger hunts or pre-determined questions can interfere with this process and allow students to become disengaged. Please refrain from these assignments.
Seniors and juniors are the most essential grade levels to speak with at college fairs; therefore, these grades should have more time with representatives than younger students. If you would like to include other grade levels, please limit their time at the fair when compared to upperclassmen.
Please refrain from playing loud music or using megaphones during a college fair, unless used to make a brief announcement. Extended use of loudspeakers can interfere with the ability to communicate with students.