Sep 22, 2012

International Colleges Debut at the 2012 FCPS College Fair and Night

Miami of Ohio

Anyone who has attended a FCPS College Fair or College Night knows these tend to be hectic events. With about 400 colleges and thousands of high school students and their families in attendance, things get a little crazy with lines building early at the exhibits.
Each October, FCPS college fairs are among the largest and best attended in the DC area.  For the first time this year, the fairs will feature colleges from Canada, the United Kingdom, and one from Australia.

And once again, students are invited to “pre-register” online using a program that links them with colleges through the magic of a barcode scanned during visits with admissions representatives attending the fair.

“The online registration process creates a barcode that students bring with them to the fair,” said Marian M. Kendrick, FCPS College Fair/College Night liaison. “It streamlines the process for students and colleges and improves the flow of the whole fair.”

Students who have attended National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) fairs will recognize the scanners. The technology is provided by and is the same as that used by NACAC since 2007.

Logging on to the 2012 FCPS College Fair & Night registration site, students provide basic contact information, an indication of academic interests, and graduation year and high school.
In return, they receive an “Admittance Pass” (personalized barcode) that is printed out and brought to the fair. College reps scan the barcode as a way to retrieve information thereby eliminating the need for visitors to complete individual registration cards at every table.

After the fair, students return home with the usual stack of glossy brochures and a few business cards. Colleges return with important information on interested students.

“Two to three days after the fair, colleges will have all their leads emailed to them in an Excel spreadsheet, so they can start the follow-up process right away,” Mrs. Kendrick explained.
But the system isn’t perfect, and colleges complain about the “strength” of the leads they receive through the electronic system.  Students who blow past an exhibit and wave the scanner in the direction of the admissions representative aren’t demonstrating the kind of serious interest they like to see.
To reinforce interest, students should take time to ask a few questions and collect a business card.  Later in the evening, follow-up with a quick note to the person with whom you spoke underscoring your interest and desire to investigate the school further.

The 2012 College Fair will be held at Fair Oaks Shopping Mall on Sunday, October 21, from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm, and College Night will take place at Hayfield Secondary School on Monday, October 22, from 7:00 to 9:00.

Students planning to attend either event are encouraged, but not required to pre-register. Those who have not pre-registered, however, will not be given barcodes on the night of the fair. They’re on their own with low-tech methods of providing information to colleges. Pre-printed labels for this purpose are recommended.

For more information or to see the growing list of colleges participating in the 2012 College Fair & Night, visit the FCPS School Counseling Services webpage.

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