Fairest of them all might be just over the mountain | NevadaAppeal.com

Fairest of them all might be just over the mountain

Brian Underwood

Consulting your bathroom mirror for which colleges might be the fairest of them all to include in your search may not be the most prudent strategy. However, it is fair to say that next month’s national college fair in San Francisco could be the fairest way to begin seriously evaluating college options.

For all the beauty and majesty of our amazing corner of the world, northern Nevada is not a consistent destination for admissions officers, which helps support the validity for aspiring college students and their parents to consider attending the NACAC College Fair on April 21 at the Concourse Exhibition Center.

With officials from approximately 225 colleges, universities, and specialty schools scheduled to be in attendance, the National Association of College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) Fair held free of charge every spring in the Bay Area represents the most comprehensive, one-day opportunity each year for students in this region to visit with representatives from such an array of post-secondary school educational opportunities.

In addition to the wide selection of four-year colleges and universities from across the United States, this year’s NACAC Fair will also include international colleges as well as a variety of niche schools from across the country. Students interested in schools specializing in the visual arts, military service, technical training, fashion and design, pharmacy and health science, engineering, architecture & design, hotel management, and the performing arts will have lots of schools to choose from.

The chance to interface with so many schools under one roof, on one day, provides an incredibly efficient way to either begin forming a list of schools, or to begin paring down a list. Either way, the convenience of one-stop shopping – even if it’s only window shopping – is worth the trip.

But what makes the NACAC Fair even more compelling are the number of free workshops that occur in conjunction with the event. This year’s fair will include experts speaking on such topics as: How to Pay for College, Financial Aid, How to Start the College Search Process/Find the College that is Right for you, The Application & College Essay, University of California & Cal State Colleges, Historically Black Colleges & Universities, and The SAT & ACT. In an effort to help families attend as many seminars as possible, the fair has three workshop windows, during which several of these topics will be repeated.

With so many schools and speakers to choose from during such a short amount of time (fair hours are 1:30 – 4:30), perhaps the most challenging aspect of attending a national college fair is getting organized and forming a game plan.

?To maximize your experience at the fair, you’ll want to begin by pre-registering through the NACAC website, http://www.nacacnet.org. Though admission is free, pre-registering will provide each registrant a unique bar code that representatives can scan at their booths in order to acquire contact information for students without requiring them to complete separate interest cards for every school that interests them.

With so much to choose from, you’ll want to plan your strategy before arriving the day of the event. One of the best ways to establish a priority list of schools is to consider performing an online search of schools that meet your early criteria. This way you can make sure to seek out representatives at the fair for schools that meet your priorities.

A wonderful online resource for filtering schools can be found at http://www.collegedata.com. This robust site offers a search engine that identifies schools based on the users priorities. Schools generated from this exercise can then be cross referenced with the schools who have committed to being at the fair. A list of participating schools can be found under the NACAC link for the San Francisco fair.

For those who are exclusively interested in pursuing educational opportunities in the performing and visual Arts (PVA), NACAC also conducts separate college fairs that connect students to undergraduate and graduate programs in the areas of music, dance, theater, visual arts, graphic design, and other related disciplines.

NACAC’s Performing and Visual Art Fairs are held each fall. These are extremely valuable sessions where, according to the NACAC website, “attendees learn about educational opportunities, admission and financial aid, portfolio days, audition and entrance requirements, and much more by meeting with representatives from colleges, universities, conservatories, festivals and other educational institutions with specialized programs in the visual and performing arts.”

Aspiring artists interested in attending the next NACAC Performing and Visual Art Fair in this region will want to mark their calendars for Sunday, October 21. This event is scheduled to be held from 12:00 – 2:30 p.m. at the Nob Hill Masonic Center.

For more information on the PVA fair as well as the upcoming Spring fair, visit the NACAC website, or call 800-822-6285.