Making the Most of a Secondary School Fair

Stephanie Curtis, Director of Marketing & Communication

Attending a secondary school fair can be exciting and fun—it’s a great opportunity to meet representatives from dozens of schools in one location and gather information to pour through with your parents or guardians, later. The pace of the fair is brisk, so staying organized can keep you focused so that you can make the most of the fair. 

1. Review the list of schools attending in advance. Prioritize the schools you already know you want to speak with, and other schools about which you are curious. Stay open to surprises, too; the point of the fair is to explore a bit.

2. Ask about the layout of the fair. When checking in, ask about the best way to find the schools you most want to visit. Are schools grouped by region, or alphabetically? If an event map is offered, consider taking one with you. Knowing where the schools are located at the fair can help you stay organized, allowing you to spend more time learning about the schools on your list, and less time searching.

3. Introduce yourself. When you arrive at the school’s table or booth, be sure to introduce yourself. “Hello, I’m Priya, I’m from Marblehead,” is a good way to begin a conversation at a fair.  

4. Ask thoughtful questions. Remember that you’ll be speaking with the experts at each school, so ask questions that will help you learn about each school in ways that are important to you. Instead of general questions, frame your questions so that the school representatives will understand what you really want to know. 

  • Instead of: “What is student life like?” Ask, “What is a typical day for a freshman student?” or “What are some of the most popular traditions on campus?” or “I love theater, what clubs would you recommend for me?” 

  • Instead of: “Is it hard for day students to make friends?” Ask, “What tips do you have for day students to make friends and get involved?” and “What percentage of students are day students?” and “What are some of the most popular student organizations on campus?”

  • Instead of: “Where is your school?” Ask, “What’s great about your school’s location?” 

  • Instead of: “What kind of grades do I need in order to be accepted?” Ask: “What’s the most important factor for you when considering an application?” or “What tips do you have for standing out in the application process?

5. Receive (and give) Information. Many schools will have information or brochures that you can take home with you. They may also invite you to share your contact information if you and your family members would like an admission counselor to follow up with more information. Be sure to thank the school representative for their time before moving on.

6. Take notes before leaving the fair. Jot down key takeaways from each conversation to remind you of significant information that school representatives mentioned. Set aside time after the fair to look through the brochures you have collected. Talk with family members or an advisor about the schools you are interested in researching further, and make a list of next steps to help you learn more.

 

“For North Shore families who see the value of private school education, fairs allow a school to come to life—literally—through dialogue with school representatives at a table. The chance to ask follow-up questions or gain insight into why a school prioritizes what it does has incredible value for a prospective student and family.”

– Governor's Academy, on the importance of the fair experience.