College Fair Host Guidelines

OACAC College Fair Host Guidelines

Ohio Regional College Fairs
Approved January 2010

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Over the past several years, discussions took place at Spring Conference, Articulation, and throughout regions of the state as college fair coordinators and college representatives met to seek input on ways we could work to consolidate some programs and still continue to serve our students. As we enter the upcoming year and we are all faced with challenging economic times and tight budgets, we are hoping to continue the efforts to consolidate and streamline the OACAC College Fair Calendar.

As you may know, OACAC, in conjunction with the Ohio Public and Private College Admission Directors, has been working to consolidate the number of college fairs held in Ohio. College fairs are not always the best way for students to receive in-depth information regarding the college process. It’s our goal to consolidate fairs, approve fairs that have a larger number of schools planning the events in order to reach out to a wider number of students, and to continue to target specific weeks within the state for schools to host their fairs

What is the best way for a student to learn more about college?

Visiting college websites to narrow down the search followed by a campus visit is a much more effective process for students and colleges. Many colleges and universities are facing budget constraints and have to be more selective in their recruitment activities as well as the need to be more efficient in their interactions with schools. OACAC would like to see more direct collaboration among proximate high schools in planning college fairs. Collaboration is a more effective use of resources and high schools will have more colleges in attendance at these fairs. In a recent survey conducted by CAPPEX, the strongest influencer for students in the collegemsearch process is the campus visit. 74% of the students surveyed reported this as the topminfluencer while 59% indicated that the college’s website influenced their search process.  Students reported that college fairs don’t come close to those top two sources of information in terms of influence. Only a third of the students surveyed reported that college fairs influence their search process.

In support of this collaboration, OACAC would like to help you work with other programs to partner and consolidate college fairs within the state. As an organization filled with valuable resources, we would also like to offer our support for panel presentation for high schools that focus on the college search process. This is often times a better way to help educate students about the benefits of a college education and how to go about the search process. A college fair isn’t always the best method for students to learn about our institutions.

OACAC is committed to serving our underrepresented student populations. While a college fair may be a way to start the college search, it may not be the best way to educate these students. To that end, OACAC member institutions are committed to helping coordinate application workshops, conduct presentations addressing the college search process, provide staff for evening panel presentations to include parents. OACAC will be willing to assist schools in collaborating with and joining other high schools to plan a program that will better serve underrepresented populations.

Guidelines for listing in the OACAC college fair calendar:

For the fall and spring calendar year, we will continue to use the new college fair registration process along with the new guidelines on what programs will be listed on the OACAC Regional college fair calendar.

Preference will be given to college fairs that consist of multiple schools co-hosting the event.  This consortium model is already working well in a few regions of Ohio.

Those wishing to be considered for the OACAC regional college fair calendar, must submit the online college fair request form by posted registration deadline. The college fair committee, comprised of OACAC board members, high school guidance counselors and college admission representatives, will review the applications to determine those who will be listed on the calendar.

Listed OACAC college fairs are programs hosted at a community college, college sites, or alternating high school sites; they are planned and implemented by several high schools from the area, along with an on-site director from the host venue. These programs are truly “owned and operated” by the schools that form the college fair planning committee. These individuals promote and operate the fair and their students and parents attend the college fair. Colleges and universities may pay registration fees for college fair programs. These fees are used to help to offset the costs incurred by the host institution, to guarantee a certain level of operating quality and/or provide busing to high schools wishing to bus students to a college fair program.

NACAC fairs are sponsored throughout the country by our national organization – the National Association for College Admission Counseling. They tend to draw a national group of colleges and universities and are quite large in nature. We have listed, in the calendar, our own Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland NACAC fairs.

OACAC-Approved programs must meet at least one of the following criteria:

1. A program that, at a minimum, accommodates students and parents from one county, or an entire community college district or from an Ohio state school district. Participating schools do not host duplicate programs.

2. A program that is planned and executed by 3 or more schools. Participating schools do not host duplicate programs.

3. A program that is attended by at least 300 or more students and parents and 75 or more college/university admission representatives.

4. A program that cannot be a college fair sponsored by proprietary organizations (or noneducational organizations) for the purpose of profit, publicity or public relations for the organization. This would include but is not limited to, events sponsored by TV stations, zoos, athletic teams, shopping malls, churches, financial institutions etc. Proposal submitted to Public and Private Directors as well as OACAC Executive Board for discussion and approval January 27, 2010

Committee Members:
Rae Ann DiBaggio, Case Western Reserve University (College Fair Chairperson)
Tom Fanning, John Carroll University (OACAC President)
Mary Grimaldi, Beaumont School (OACAC President Elect)
David Garcia, Kent State University (OACAC Past President)
Tom Canepa, University of Cincinnati (Board Member-at-Large)

Have questions about OACAC College Fairs?

Rae Ann DiBaggio, Chair
Case Western Reserve University
phone:  (216) 368-6568