Every year, I go to at least 10 college fairs and I have been an admissions counselor for 4 years so you can bet that I’ve heard every question under the sun. I get common questions about course offerings, student body size and test score requirements, and the occasional unusual question like “what do they serve in the cafeteria?” College fairs are a great opportunity for you to connect with different colleges and universities to find the right fit for you and further your understanding of the admissions process. It is my job to talk to you about the opportunities Portland State University offers and guide you toward making the right choice for your future.
To better prepare you for your next visit to a college fair (and your next campus visit), I’ve created a list of the top questions people ask me and what you should ask instead.
1. What students ask: “What department or program is the best at your school?”
Asking this question is like asking what your favorite Missy Elliott song is, they are all good!
What you should ask: Think about your own interests and what you hope to gain by going to college and then get more specific. Ask about class size, graduation rates, notable alumni and professors, study abroad programs, and work-study options. The best program will be the one that is matched to your interests and needs, and what you might gain from it.
2. What students ask: What is your most popular major?
Choosing a major is a very important part of the student experience, maybe even the most! Just because something is popular does not mean that you will like it.
What you should ask: Ask questions about your interests and goals so we can talk about a major that would be right for you.
3. What students ask: What are the chances that I will get in?
Admissions counselors are not evaluators, we really don’t know!
What you should ask: You can start with asking how many applicants there are and what the admission rate is. It will help to find out what makes you a competitive applicant for the school you are applying to and why.
BONUS 1: Ask about student life!
Most students I meet hone in on academics and forget to ask about another important part of choosing the right college, their social life. At PSU, we offer a diverse range of organizations to get involved in and we value what students do outside of their academic life. There is so much to do in Portland and we love talking about all of the options. The community Portland State offers outside academics is equally important to your success, and your success is our primary goal.
BONUS 2: Don’t let your parents ask all the questions.
Your parents’ opinions matter in your admission decision and even though they may be helping you financially, you are making the final decision. You are the student and the one who will be living out your college experience so you need to ask the questions. Showing your independence and making responsible choices during the admissions process might even win brownie points with your parents.
Do you have questions? Meet an admissions counselor at your school.