At PTK Catalyst 2018, you’ll be able to feast on both lunch and college information during the Catalyst Luncheons and Senior College Transfer Fairs on Friday and Saturday, April 20 and 21.
The transfer fairs provide a unique opportunity for you to visit with admission representatives from colleges and universities across the country all in one place. Think of it as a shopping trip for colleges, where you’ll learn more about individual institutions and sort through your transfer requirements.
However, just like a trip to the mall, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with so many choices available. Follow this advice to make the most of your experience.
1) It’s okay to start early.
Are you a college freshman who thinks it’s too early to explore your transfer options? Trust us, it’s not. The next year will go by quickly, and it’s better to start thinking about transfer now rather than later.
2) Do your homework.
Before you leave for PTK Catalyst 2018, scan the full list of colleges and universities exhibiting in Kansas City. Make a note of the schools that interest you the most, and plan to visit their booths at the fair.
Narrow the list by asking yourself these questions:
Are you looking for a college that’s close to home or in a different part of the country?
Are you interested in small, private schools or large, public universities?
Which colleges offer your major?
What’s the cost of tuition, and what types of scholarships/financial aid are offered?
This year PTK is implementing a visual color coding system at the Transfer Fair to help students navigate the fairs more easily and inform their research prior to arrival at PTK Catalyst 2018. Use the color coding to spark conversations with admission counselors about these special areas of focus:
• PTK Transfer Scholarship (green)
• Flexible Course Scheduling (red)
• International/DACA Student Friendly (yellow)
• Honors Courses (blue)
3) Keep an open mind.
Have a plan, but don’t be afraid to deviate from it if a college that wasn’t on your original list catches your eye.
Chatting with representatives from a variety of colleges can also help you figure out your own preferences. Sometimes it’s just as important to know what you don’t want as it is to make your transfer wish list.
Be polite but spend most of your time on schools that match your interests, not just humoring friendly admissions representatives.
4) Make your questions count.
Remember quality, not quantity defines a successful college fair experience. Instead of trying to collect a brochure from every booth, have in-depth conversations with representatives of the colleges you’re most interested in exploring.
Don’t bother asking generic questions like “Do you have a good engineering program?” Instead, ask what sets their program apart from other colleges. You might also want to see if PTK scholarships are stackable with other available financial aid.
5) Be engaged and make contacts for the future.
It’s tempting to casually wander through the college fair without realizing it’s a great networking opportunity. Pay attention to who you’re talking with at each booth and ask for their contact information at the end of your conversation. Keep in touch and reach out with thoughtful questions that demonstrate your interest.
Even if you successfully gather a lot of information, be sure to schedule a campus visit. It’s still the best way to find your ideal transfer fit. Remember, the transfer fair is only the beginning of your college search. You’ll need to do more research, make a choice, and follow through.
Create a profile on CollegeFish.org if you haven’t already. This will help you stay on top of deadlines for the application process.
6) Have fun!
Use the transfer fair to expand your horizons beyond what you’ve found so far on college search engines and by word of mouth.
Don’t be afraid to explore something new, but make sure you’re able to separate the schools with good sales pitches from those that should be strong contenders for your transfer choice.
Once you get back home be sure to communicate what you’ve learned from the Transfer Fair and entire PTK Catalyst experience. Not all PTK members are fortunate enough to attend PTK Catalyst, so share your materials and consider facilitating a presentation for fellow chapter members.