Students are getting their ducks in a row and submitting applications to their top schools of choice.
There are plenty of resources to help with this process, from colorful brochures to web content galore. In fact, all those resources can be overwhelming! This is why students have traditionally flocked to college fairs. However, with the advent of COVID-19, the world has discovered that much of what we did in person can be done just as well—or better—online. Enter: the virtual college fair.
Virtual college fairs are conducted through an online hub, with webinar-style sessions that enable participants (students, parents, and counselors alike) to attend certain tracks depending on their interests and submit their questions via chat. There are opportunities for 1:1 conversations with experts and college representatives around the admissions process, the college life experience, financial aid options, and more. All from the comfort of home.
If your student is not attending a virtual college fair, they should be. Here are five reasons why.
This one may seem obvious, but virtual college fairs are more accessible than in-person ones. Being remote means that college fairs are cheaper to attend, require no travel time, and can be done from anywhere around the world. This is perfect for busy families and students, as well as those who don’t want to travel for health reasons.
Virtual fairs can also be more easily integrated into a school day, which makes them more accessible. Students don’t even need to leave the premises to attend a virtual fair, and it’s easier to get students excited about attending when all of their friends and classmates—rather than just a select few—are taking the same dedicated time to log on and participate.
- More Time for Questions
The webinar format allows students to “chat in” any questions they may have throughout the discussion. This allows college fair presenters and moderators to answer more questions than they would be able to address at an in-person college fair.
The accessibility for questions is especially helpful for international students, notes Kaersten Deeds, school counselor at Dulwich College Seoul in South Korea.
“[Students need] more handholding through the visa process,” says Deeds. “Just really being clear and available to answer any kind of questions surrounding how the student gets there and what happens to the student once they get there.”
- Up-to-date Information
With health policies constantly changing, students want more up-to-date information on how colleges are handling health concerns. Conducting the fair virtually means the right person–not always the sole fair representative!—can be on hand to answer questions like:
- What COVID-19-related health policies are in place at your university?
- How is teaching conducted to ensure health safety?
- What measures are in place to ensure students are being supported academically, socially, and emotionally?
- How does the school handle someone testing positive for COVID-19?
- Variety of Options
Virtual college fairs offer one location for students and families to access a wide variety of options. While in-person events are capped according to physical space and limited in terms of which college’s reps are willing and able to travel, the number and geography of colleges and universities that can participate in virtual fairs are limitless.
Of course, receiving a constant influx of information throughout the year can feel overwhelming. Therefore, setting aside time during a school day to access all of these options via a single, streamlined virtual fair gives students a chance to focus and do the research necessary to make an informed college choice.
- Student Voices at the Table
Virtual college fairs offer opportunities for live presentations from university faculty and admissions staff to chat about the admissions process and the “college life” experience. But who better to hear about the college life experience from than a student?
“Webinars that have included a current student at your institution…have really helped students connect with that imminent question of ‘what is my life going to be like there,’” says Roshan Gujar, school counselor at Cedar International School in the British Virgin Islands.
So now you know why virtual college fairs are getting all the buzz these days. To learn more about registering for a virtual college fair, visit the GoToCollegeFairs Help Center.