Making the Most of a Graduate School Fair

The Graduate School Fair provides opportunities to explore programs, obtain school information, and speak directly with school representatives. Graduate programs attend fairs to increase student awareness about their program, the degrees they offer, and to identify prospective student applicants. The following guidelines are designed to help you make the most of your experience. For further assistance, ask a Career Center staff member to help you (435-797-7777).

 

Before the Event

Tips for Attending the Graduate School Fair 

 

  • Research the schools and programs represented ahead of time.
  • Rank the schools according to your preference. Visit the schools you are most interested in first.
  • Prepare questions to ask the representatives ahead of time.
  • Prepare answers for questions representatives might ask you, i.e. Why do you want to attend graduate school? When? What would you like to do with this degree?
  • Dress casually, but appropriately. Remember, you still want to make a good first impression.
  • Give yourself plenty of time. Arrive early and take a few minutes to review the table map. 

 

Questions to Ask:

Click on the following links for sample questions to ask. 

Admissions Process

  • Find out what the admissions process focuses on so that you can play to your strengths when you apply.
  • Determine if there are any special projects you need to pull together to send off with your application (some programs require portfolios or language tapes to be submitted).
  • What entrance examinations are required?
  • Who makes the admissions decisions and what are they looking for in a prospective student? Do I have the prerequisites required? What are my chances of acceptance? (Some programs will admit graduate students on a provisional basis for the first semester, so if you're not sure about your chances of getting into a school, think about asking about this.)

Courses Offered

  • How specialized is the program? Will this program provide depth or breadth?
  • If you're interested in part-time or distance learning, some programs help out students in these paths, while others are less willing to work with you.
  • What are the course and thesis requirements for my degree? Do students need to consider any additional licensure or certification beyond graduation?

Faculty/Teaching Quality

  • Get beyond the reputation of the institution and move on to the educational quality of the program.
  • Are the faculty good mentors as well as brilliant minds in their field?
  • Are they around enough to teach, or are the constantly moving from research project to keynote speech?
  • If you're interested in a professional school, does the faculty have professional experience as well as academic renown? Do they focus on one specific area of their discipline?

Financial Aid

  • What types of financial aid are available (fellowships, assistantships, scholarships, loans)?
  • How much does the program cost (tuition, student fees, housing)?
  • Are there additional fees?

Graduation/Employment

  • How soon do student graduate? How many complete the program?
  • How soon do graduates find employment? What kind of jobs do they get? What kind of support is offered for the graduate job search? How well do graduates perform on professional exams in their field?

Student Body

  • Ask about the other student you will be learning with. Where do they intern during the summer?

 

During the Event 

 

  • Have your questions ready when you approach the program representative. These individuals are often in great demand and will appreciate that you are prepared. Remember the importance of first impressions; conduct yourself in the way you would like to be remembered.
  • If there is not enough time to ask all your questions, ask how you can obtain further information.
  • If a representative cannot answer all your questions, ask for their recommendation on an alternate contact. Pick up the information and brochures that are offered.
  • After talking with a representative make some quick notes regarding the information that you received.

 

After the Event 

 

  • Follow up with any additional contacts recommended to you.
  • Check your notes to ensure you include all relevant information on applications, statements, essays, etc.

 

Don't forget that the Career Services Staff can help you with any additional questions and concerns that you may have about continuing your education (including personal statement and C.V. critiques). If you are not sure which path is right for you, speak with a staff member to schedule an appointment (435-797-7777).