“Oops, I forgot my table banner!” 

Hopefully you did not hear yourself shriek this phrase, or any like it, as you arrived at a college fair this fall. If you did, you are not the first, and are definitely not the last. Bring guilty of having done this myself, let me simply say, “Welcome to the club!” In our go, go, go world as “road warriors,” it is inevitable that we will forget to pack something, at some point, as we repeatedly travel to and from campus. Maybe you joined the table banner-less club for a day, maybe it was a certain brochure, maybe it was a pair of dress socks, or even your entire outfit for the following day. If I’ve learned anything during my seven years in this profession, and being guilty of forgetting each of those aforementioned, it is to roll with the punches and embrace the positives!

Nick’s Top 3 to a Successful College Fair

 1.       Students are #1 - Always keep the students’ best interests in mind. Be honest. Be friendly. As much as we would like to have every student we meet attend our institution, we must work together to help them find their best fit.

 2.       Be Prepared - This goes beyond staying out of my forgetful “club.” Be knowledgeable about your institution. Arrive early. Get enough sleep (or at least enough coffee!). Know for sure you're actually registered for the fair.

 3.       Network - Get to know your fellow “road warriors.” Get to know professional school counselors. Collaborate. Learn from one another. At the very least, gain a travel buddy to meet up with for a few meals during your travel season. Attend our Member Meetups!

 With the Iowa ACAC College Day/College Night Program fall season in the books, a huge THANK YOU goes out to each site coordinator for dedicating their valuable time and for all their hard work planning and hosting a fair. Running a successful college fair takes much more than simply providing the space and your efforts help our organization rise to new heights each year. This fall Iowa ACAC sponsored 24 college fairs across Iowa. Four of our programs even scaled a 1,000+ high school student attendance!

Another THANK YOU goes to the National Association for College Admission Counseling. The College Day/College Night Committee applied for, and received, an Imagine Grant from NACAC. The grant funds received were used for transportation for students who may not otherwise be able to attend a college fair. The Des Moines College Fair (at East High School) acted as our pilot for this grant. Last year the Des Moines College Fair attendance was slightly above 200 students, all of whom attended East HS. This year the Imagine Grant funds allowed students to come from other high schools in the Des Moines Public School District, raising the attendance to 800+ students! That’s a definite success, if you ask me!

As easy as it would be to continue with my “thank-yous” forever, I will force myself to throw out just one more. THANK YOU to the Iowa ACAC College Day/College Night Committee members!

·         Tina Miranda, Grand View University
·         Karen Eden, St. Ambrose University
·         Sabrina Tapps-Fee, University of Iowa
·         Colby Reinking, University of Northern Iowa
·         Marissa Simplot, University of Iowa
·         Morgan Granstra, Northwest Iowa Community College
·         Erik Ryan, Mount Mercy University
·         Ryan Barbauld, Iowa State University
·         Austen Schueler, Central College
·         Jackie Bode-Steinke, Lewis Central HS
·         Erin Gabriel, Dowling Catholic HS
·         Gail McMahon, Iowa ACAC Executive Assistant

The fall college fair season comes to a close, which means spring college fairs are right around the corner! A late registration  opportunity opens soon, for those who missed out. Travel safely, my friends!