Attending a university fair or college expo is an excellent opportunity to meet representatives from the best colleges and universities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
As a student, participating in events like Najah Expo Dubai could prove helpful in your quest to find an institution that can offer the right program for you.
Is it your first time attending such a gathering? Here are seven tips on how you can prepare:
1. Have a plan.
Develop a plan before going to the event. This should depend on what’s already decided and what has yet to be determined.
For example, if you have your eyes on specific UAE colleges, your plan can revolve around developing a set of criteria to help rate them according to your goals. If there is only one university on your list, focus on digging deeper into the program and application process at the university fair.
But if you don’t have a target school yet, your plan can revolve around a goals and priorities list. This could help you spot prospective programs that can help you grow in your chosen field of study or even offer scholarships to get you through college.
Pro Tip: Research the institutions ahead of the student recruitment event to create a more robust plan.
2. Prepare some questions.
College fairs and university expos offer a great opportunity for students to discuss their plans with educational institution representatives. It is where the students can figure out whether what the colleges offer can match their goals and preferences.
That said, you should prepare a couple of questions or issues to raise during the college fair. These could be specific to your chosen major and other things you hope to accomplish (e.g., participate in sports and other extracurricular activities). Or, they could just be general details about the universities you’re eyeing, such as:
- Admission requirements
- Course structure
- Tuition and other fees
- Application deadlines
- Application response time
Remember to keep your list concise so you can get through it with all the college representatives you want to interview. As much as possible, don’t go over five questions or key points and focus on the things that matter the most to you.
3. Be open-minded.
Although it’s good to have a specific point of focus during your first college fair, you should still keep an open mind to other possibilities and study options.
Try to find a balance between seeking out your ideal course and institution with the possibility of finding the best-suited program in places you least expect.
Being open-minded also lets you see prospects you may not have considered before, like going to a college overseas or choosing study-to-work scholarship programs that could secure your future after graduation. The key is to look into a course’s potential based on your priorities.
4. Manage your time well.
College expos don’t happen all year round. They follow a certain schedule, leaving you with very limited time to rub elbows with university representatives.
To make the most of the opportunity, try not to get too caught up in a single conversation.
You can set the alarm on your watch or phone to let you know when the event is about to conclude. This will allow you to collect the information you need with the time you have.
Take advantage of the event staff’s announcements for each expo segment, like panel discussions and presentations. You can also make a plan based on posted schedules of the event, but don’t forget to be flexible.
5. Get your recommendations ready.
Some college expos serve as an avenue for college representatives to gather student applications.
Although it’s not advisable that you make decisions hastily, you must still be ready with your recommendations should a golden opportunity arise. After all, a thoughtful, well-drafted recommendation letter dramatically contributes to your chances of admission to a prestigious university.
To make sure you get in, request academic references that showcase how well you perform, cope with, and contribute to your chosen field. The letter must be presented in the right manner — with facts well-organised and offering proof of your competence and abilities. They should also focus on the programs you’re planning to take up in college.
6. Prepare for the interview.
While it does help get your foot in the door, an excellent application with stellar recommendations is not a university admission guarantee. You also need to be ready for the admission interviews.
To boost your chances at acing this step, think about how you would answer the questions they might ask. These usually revolve around things that showcase your knowledge and potential for both research and practical coursework.
Some of the questions you can expect may focus on:
- Research and other projects you have completed
- Your short- and long-term goals
- Your plans after finishing the course
7. Dress to impress.
Now that you’re ready with your questions, paperwork, and mindset, it is time for you to decide on your outfit.
While you don’t have to rent a special ensemble just for the occasion, you do need to put in enough effort so you won’t look like you just got off the couch and went to the college fair on a whim.
The key is to look presentable and memorable for the university reps. Smart casual outfits should do the trick, but keep it modest. This can be comprised of:
- A formal shirt and khakis or jeans (nothing torn or ragged-looking) with dress shoes for men.
- A well-fitting top and a skirt or dressy jeans with closed-toe shoes for women.
Aside from your outfit, you should also carry yourself confidently. Smile and make eye contact to show them that you’re interested and can become an excellent addition to their institution. Always be polite.
Find the Right College for You
College provides valuable training and experience to help prepare students for the real world. Attending university expos could be your chance to assess various institutions in the UAE and pick out one that could equip you with everything you’ll need to succeed, both in your career and in life.