Here’s how to get the most out of an education fair
Vishal Raina, 24, will fly to Canada in December to study cloud computing at Lambton College, Toronto. For him, it’s a dream come true — because he’s also armed with a work visa, which means he is free to choose what direction his life takes from here.
Direction was what he was most in need of in the year before he gained admission to Lambton.
“I knew I had potential but I just didn’t know what my options were,” Raina says. Then he attended an education fair.
Here, the admissions processes for a range of course and countries were explained to him. “I even met some of the university directors face to face and they answered some of the questions I had.”
The most significant advantage he gained from the education fair was advice and assistance with his work permit.
“With the help of the counsellors from the fair I received a study and work visa within the next two weeks,” he says.
The purpose of education fairs is to reach out to students with reliable information on the options that are open to them.
Which course or stream, which country, what are the requirements or eligibility for a particular course, what are the ways in which you can seek funding, and what are your options after the course — these are the kinds of questions you can expect to have answered.
“Education fairs are a great platform because students can directly meet delegates from a range of universities, and thereby get a clear understanding of how to meet their specific requirement and needs,” says Naveen Chopra, director of The Chopras overseas education consultancy.
PICK A COURSE, ANY COURSE
Don’t be afraid to pick an experimental stream either. In addition to the usual suspects — engineering, the humanities, finance and business — education fairs now encompass music technology, construction project management, political and terrorism studies, cyber security and so on.
“At the Global Opportunities education fair, students can expect approximately 400 course options each at the UG and PG levels,” says Libu Thomas, business operation and strategy head for the fair.
The Education in Ireland fair, in fact, has a focus on courses in hospitality and hotel management this year. “With the rise in demand and popularity of hospitality and tourism courses, we will be offering more courses on hotel management, culinary arts and tourism,” sats Barry O’Driscoll, senior education advisor for the fair.
Accordingly, universities like Shannon College of Hotel Management, Athlone Institute of Technology and Limerick Institute of Technology will be participating in the event.
BEFORE HEADING OUT…
Make a list of the institutes or representatives you want to find.
Make a list of questions for delegates and representatives that go beyond curricula and paperwork — do you want to know more about the campus or social life, sports, gyms and libraries, who will be your private tutor, when can you plan a trip home? Don’t hesitate to ask.
Make sure you are smartly dressed and carry all the necessary documents. These would include your original academic documents, mark sheets, certificates and passport. “Carry a copy of your CV or business card as this is a good chance to network with universities, alumni and fellow candidates,” says Archana Menon, marketing head at QS, a leading higher education consultancy.
Don’t start out by asking about scholarships. You want to make a good first impression on admissions directors; you need to stand out as a student who came well-prepared and is serious about the course and career.