For many prospective students, attending a university fair such as the QS World Grad School Tour or QS World University Tour is an essential part of the journey towards choosing the right university, and making a successful application. University fairs allow you to get personal answers to your questions, discover completely new opportunities, share ideas with peers, and get expert advice on admissions tests, applications, funding and more.
Read on to discover seven ways attending a university fair can benefit your application…
1. Talk face-to-face with admissions officers
For many students, the main benefit of attending a university fair is the opportunity to get your questions answered in person, in an informal discussion with admissions staff. As well as filling in gaps in the information available online, this is also a great way to get a feel for the ethos of the institution, and tailored advice on what you need to do next. Some universities will also bring current or former students to the event, so you can get direct feedback from peers. And if you meet a school you’re interested in, you’ll have the chance to exchange contact details, so you can easily follow up afterwards.
2. Gain test prep advice from industry experts
Do you need to take an English language test such as IELTS or TOEFL, or a graduate admissions test such as the GRE or GMAT? Many university fairs offer opportunities to attend seminars and presentations about these exams, and to speak directly to representatives of the organizations that run the tests. Whatever your question (even if you think it’s ‘silly’!), this is your chance to clear up any confusion and make sure you’re on track to pass all the exams you need.
3. Get practical tips for your application
In between discussions with university representatives, you’ll have the chance to attend talks and panel discussions on a range of topics. This could be useful in helping you decide which course to apply for or which country to study in, as well as giving you practical tips on how to put together a successful application. Admissions officers will share what they look for when assessing applications, what common mistakes to avoid, and how to go the extra mile to make yourself stand out. These sessions are likely to be particularly useful if you use the opportunity to ask any remaining questions you have, so don’t be shy!
4. Understand admission requirements
While all universities list admission requirements on their websites, these often leave some space for confusion. Have you studied the required subjects to a high-enough level? Which standardized exams are preferred? What exactly is meant by ‘work experience’? And if you’re applying to study abroad, what additional requirements must you meet? The university fair is your opportunity to note down answers to all of these questions, ensuring that you fully understand the requirements for your chosen program and location.
5. Network with other students
While the admissions officers and experts may be the main attraction, don’t underestimate the value of sharing ideas and information with other prospective students attending the event. Talk to those around you, and listen to their advice, ideas and experiences. Perhaps they can recommend a university, a test prep resource, or put you in touch with a friend in the location you want to study in. This is also a great way to process the information you’ve gathered during the event, by talking it through. Who knows, you might even end up studying at the same university!
6. Discover totally new options
Although you might have a clear plan of which universities and programs interest you, university fairs are a fantastic way to discover options that you haven’t previously considered, but which perfectly fit your requirements and goals. Talk to as many university representatives as you can, and keep an open mind. Remember that many event attendees end up applying to an institution they met on the day, which hadn’t previously been on their shortlist.
7. Access exclusive scholarship advice
Finally, attending a university event can help you find out about scholarships and other funding opportunities – including some which are exclusive to event attendees. Once you’ve established a personal connection with a school, you’ll be able to continue the conversation afterwards, and if you’ve really made a strong impression on an admissions officer, s/he may suggest various funding schemes you should apply for. All attendees of the QS World Grad School Tour are also eligible to apply to the QS Scholarships scheme, worth US$1.7 million per year. Get some inspiration from past scholarship winners here!
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