Should You Attend a Virtual or an In-Person College Fair?

With college on the brain, you might be trying to decide: Should I attend an in-person college fair or a virtual one?

You can check the fair website for general details such as COVID-19 protocols and driving distance, but at the end of the day, your decision will likely come down to comfort. Here are some attributes to consider.

Pros of virtual college fairs

If health is a concern, a virtual college fair can provide the safety you need. A standard college fair is bustling with students from multiple counties and cities, increasing your risk for COVID-19 exposure. Going virtual means you can continue to control your environment.

Another benefit of virtual fairs is accessibility. If you have a learning disability or a physical disability, you may feel more comfortable attending the fair at home, where you don’t have to think about certain types of access. Virtual fairs also often have captioning and a live chat feed that you can save if you need more time to process the information.

Last but not least, convenience may be the number-one benefit of a virtual fair. All you need is a computer and internet access. You can essentially roll out of bed and be at a virtual fair in five minutes (although you may want to take a bit more time to look presentable—even on screen, you only have one opportunity to make a first impression!). This is an especially great option if you live far from a college fair, lack transportation, or have a lot of extracurriculars that may interfere.

Pros of in-person college fairs

If you get distracted easily or have trouble focusing during virtual meetings, an in-person fair may be the best choice. Studies have shown it can be challenging for people to concentrate for long stretches of time while staring at a screen, which requires deeper concentration and increased stimulation. This may be especially challenging if you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In-person fairs allow for movement and increased body language from speakers, which can be helpful for students with ADHD.

Another benefit of in-person college fairs is the ability to attend with classmates and friends. Attending with peers gives you an opportunity to discuss takeaways and share your experiences, and you may even save on gas if you opt to carpool. The more you discuss your likes and dislikes, the easier it will be to determine what really matters to you in a school.

Finally, an in-person fair can be a great way to forge a more personal connection with colleges. Especially if you enjoy conversing with others, it can be very informative to have casual conversations with admissions counselors or current students at the individual school booths. People tend to be willing to extend conversations in person, whereas video calls and written chats can feel more transactional.

No matter what you decide, know that your choice is a good one. Attending a college fair—whether virtual or in-person—will help you take the next decisive step toward your future.

You can check our calendar of upcoming college fairs by visiting our site. We offer a range of virtual and in-person college fairs around the world.