The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

Good Riddance: The Fair is Over


That was the first thought that came to my head when I stepped into the Villanova Pavillion for the Main Line College Fair on Tuesday, April 30. Hundreds of school reps were lined up, anxious to tell prospective students about how good their school is. Because I haven’t gone on any college visits, I was very optimistic about what I could learn. I thought that this is how I was going to line up my “final 8”. I did set up my final “8” because of some input by the reps, but the bigger thing I learned was that first impressions matter.

There wasn’t really any issue with the reps from my top schools. They were engaged with the students. They told me every possible thing about their school, some of which I already knew because of my own research. It was when I got to my bottom tier that we started to run into some issues. There were two schools in particular whose reps made my blood coil.

The rep from the first school let me down so much. I was very interested in the school (and I still am); however, the rep made the school she was representing go from my top four to my bottom four. I introduced myself with the normal “Hello my name is Anthony Abron and I go to Malvern Preparatory School”. She told me her name and asked me if I have any questions. Wait! Hold up! Aren’t you the the one that’s supposed to be bombarding me with information on your school. With all the other schools, they told me about their school and then asked me if I had any questions. Hopefully, this didn’t happen to other prospective students, but it left a sour taste in my mouth because the college is the one that sends their reps to the fairs.

The problem with the second school was a really big issue. The only reason why I went to the table was because my dad urged me to because he went there for three years. The first issue that arose was she was eating chips while talking. CHIPS, so unprofessional. The second issue was that she talked more to my father than she did to me. It was like they were bonding over his experiences at the school. I’m the one she should have been talking to not my father. Then, she felt the need to through some slang in there. Bad move. To this day, I still know little to nothing about the school.

All this is getting at a bigger point. Are college fairs worth it for the student?

Even after my horrible experiences with the two schools listed above, I still think the fairs are worth it. College Fairs are the first glimpse into whether or not the school is for you. Even if you get that awkward moment when you ask the question, “Can you tell me about your Hotel Management major?” and the college rep responds by saying we don’t have that major, the experience was for the better. There is another school to cross off your list.

For the convenience of students of students who will attend the College Fair next year, I have made up a list of 3 important things to do beforehand.

  1. Do a basic Google Search  of what you potentially want to do and which colleges offer a major in that area. If they don’t, contact the school and ask if a interdisciplinary program could allow you to create the major you want to do.

  2. Find a list of schools that will be in attendance and circle the ones you want to spend the most time talking to. If you go into the College Fair with absolutely no idea on where you potentially might want to end up, try and find a way to meet with 75% of the schools there. The more information and contacts you have the better.

  3. Be patient. The lines will be long especially with popular schools. At one point, the line for The University of Richmond had 30 students in it. Don’t leave the line because when you come back there might be more people.

P.S. A caveat for rule number 3 is to be on time.  The the earlier you are the easier it is for you to meet a rep earlier and not have to wait in the long lines.

Rules indicate that the college fair process can be stressful, and I can confirm that it can be.  It can be more enjoyable, however, is if the college rep is professional and engaging. This is something the student can’t control – and something that colleges have to realize. Sometimes, college reps are the welcome mat to the home which is the college. For students that don’t have the ability to drop what they are doing and travel in some cases 5 hours away to the college of their first choice, college reps are all that they have.

First impressions on the college rep part for certain schools was not on par. Normally, we are told that the student wants to make the good first impression. In this case, it was the rep that needed to make the good impression and two of them failed to. Malvern, remember, the college is a two process between the student and the college. Don’t expect the college to give you everything. Do your part, too!


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