Attending an education fair? Here’s what you need to keep in mind
A ttending university is a transformational phase in every student’s life. Preparing for it can be an exciting and tense period. The university phase of life opens up a whole new world of opportunities and learning for students to look forward to. But before all of this even begins, there is the struggle of dealing with the admission process and how to go about it. Most students have a million questions in their minds from what university to choose, what the requirements are, the ranking of the university and so on. Here is where education fairs come into the scene.

Education fairs are an excellent platform to build a network and achieve your goals since you will have the opportunity to meet and interact with various delegates and representatives from different countries and universities. Often seen as overly crowded places with confused students, several students visit education fairs but leave without a beneficial outcome merely because they are unaware of what questions to ask. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind before you attend an education fair.

Do your research
You might wonder what research to do when you are unsure about what to look for. However, an education fair is merely a medium for you to achieve your end goal of finding the right university for you. It would be extremely helpful for you to gain a basic idea about the fair you are attending and what exactly it offers. Not all fairs might offer what you are looking for so it would do well for you to go through the fair’s website or brochure to gain a better idea beforehand.

Moreover, there is usually a large crowd at the fair which is why the chances of you being able to visit all the representatives are slim. Thus, it is a good idea to find out which universities are attending so you can directly visit the top prospects instead of going to all of them.

Attending an education fair? Here’s what you need to keep in mind
What differentiates your program from programs offered at other universities?
What are the student facilities offered by the university?
Can you tell me about the additional fees and costs apart from tuition?
Apart from these basic questions, there are other essential queries that you need to put forth. This brings us to the next point:
Ask the right questions
This is the best opportunity to gather as much information as you can which is why you need to make sure to ask all the questions you can think of. Ask about the graduation rate of the university, the placement services they offer, if they offer assistance/career counseling to students, the average salary that students receive during their first year of employment, the employment prospects and so on. You can also talk about any special visa requirements that you might need to work or study in a particular region.

Furthermore, ask about the on-campus accommodation options and find out about the assistance that the university offers in terms of external accommodation if there are no residence halls available. For instance, some universities in prime locations such as London, Melbourne, Birmingham, etc., tie up with student accommodation service providers to offer a seamless stay to students. These service providers also offer assistance with room essentials, forex, guarantors, etc. Since these services improve the overall student experience by a great deal, it is important to find out if the universities you are interested in offer these value-added services.

Further, since locations such as the US, London, Paris, Vancouver, and Sydney are much costlier than others such as Ireland, Montreal or Scotland, it is a good idea to ask about the cost of living of the location you are considering.

Since the costs of studying abroad are generally quite high, it is also important to find out if the universities of your choice offer financial aid for students. There are different types of scholarships offered by universities such as merit-based, ethnicity-based, course-based or department-based. The UK also offers several scholarships for students from Commonwealth countries. For instance, the University of Westminster awards scholarship on the basis of three criteria: academic excellence, development potential, and financial need. Then there’s the University of West London which in addition to other scholarships, also offers an International Ambassador Scholarship to students who have to act as an ambassador for the university. There are various scholarship options across universities and you need to understand their eligibility criteria before you apply for one.

Keep all your documents ready
A major part of your preparation for the education fair should be assimilating all the required documents. These include your original academic documents, mark sheets, certificates, and passport. If you are going for higher education after gaining some work experience, it is a great idea to carry your business card and CV. Keep these ready beforehand to avoid last-minute hassles and have a smooth experience while networking with universities.

Keep an open mind about the university and course
You might have a list of universities and courses that you are inclined towards, but remember that you need to step into the education fair with an open mind. While browsing and networking, you might come across another option that is more suitable in terms of your career choices or finances.

Finally, organize your thoughts once you get home and deliberate on all the information that you have received. No matter which university and course you end up choosing for yourself, studying abroad will be an exceptional experience that will expand your horizons. You can always reach out to the respective representatives in case you need further information. The organizers of the education fair as well as the university representatives have the best interests of students at heart. This is why it is important to listen to them and to be open to options to make a well-informed decision.

Authored article by Saurabh Arora, CEO, University Living

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