College fairs are a great way to meet with several colleges in just a couple of hours. They're especially useful if you know what you want in a college but haven't narrowed down your list enough for campus visits. The Golden Circle College and Career Fair is the largest fair in Iowa and is held in Des Moines each fall. The second largest fair is the ICR Future Career and College Fair held in Cedar Rapids each spring. Additional fairs are held in the fall and spring around the state. Click here for a list of additional fairs in Iowa.
Get Ready for the Fair
You don't have to spend hours researching, but a little preparation will help you on fair day.
- Find out which colleges are exhibiting at the fair.
- This information may be available in promotional materials, on the fair's website or through your school counselor.
- Select the schools you're most interested in and plan to visit those booths first.
- List questions you have for specific schools, such as information about activities you'd like to pursue or requirements for your major.
- Remember to take paper and a pen to write down information.
- Make some preprinted labels with your name, contact information and graduation date to stick on college information cards.
Make the Most of the Fair
Knowing which booths you want to visit and what you want to ask will help focus your time at the fair. When you arrive:
- Look at the map of booths, if one is available, to plan a route.
- Note the times and locations of any informational sessions you're interested in so you don't miss them.
- Take a few moments after visiting with a college's representatives to write down information.
- Leave some time to browse through booths; you might find a wonderful college you haven't already considered.
Take the Next Step
Once you're home from the fair, don't let the information go to waste. Set aside some time to:
- Review the materials you brought home, along with your notes.
- Decide which colleges you want to learn more about.
- Organize materials and notes for each college in one folder. Print off a College Checklist (PDF) to keep track of information.
- Do some more research on the colleges that interest you. Explore websites, request information from admissions offices and set up campus visits.
View the Iowa Association for College Admission Counseling's list of college fairs in Iowa.