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8 Crucial Questions To Ask At Higher Education Fairs

If you are preparing to apply for college or university in the next year or two, you will be excited to hear that the Najah Expo will be held in Abu Dhabi in October this year.

Najah Expo is the MENA region’s leading exhibition of higher education options. It brings together representatives of UAE universities with around 150 others from institutions from around the world.

It’s the perfect opportunity to explore what it is like to study at university here in the UAE, Europe, the USA or all over the globe. At the Expo, institutions are ready and waiting to answer your questions about every aspect of college life. So, what should you be asking?

University is more than education. It will likely be your first experience of living away from home. So, you need to get a handle on not only what study is like, but also accommodation, the campus, extracurricular activities and the all-important question of costs and fees.

1.    What is a typical week like for the course I am interested in?

Higher education is usually very different from the school life you’ve gotten used to. Some of your time might be more self-directed, with studying in the library or at home.

Some courses will include lots of lectures, others will involve more group work. If relevant, your course might include lots of lab work, or even work placements. Make sure you get a feel for what the average week is like.

2.    What are the entry requirements?

Before you apply, you need to be sure you can meet the conditions of entry. Ask not only what school qualifications are required but also what language requirements are, ie IELTS, if you plan to study abroad. American colleges require ACT or SAT scores, too. Is there any flexibility if you don’t quite make the grades you hope for?

3.    What are admissions tutors looking for in applicants?

Grades aren’t everything. What qualities and skills might tutors be looking for when they go through your application and personal statement? If you know this, then you can highlight the right things when the time comes to apply.

4.    What do typical graduates go on to do after the course?

It is important to think beyond the course. Will this university open the right door to the career you want? Get a good idea of what opportunities it will open up by asking what recent graduates are doing now.

5.    What are the course fees and costs of living at your university?

University costs can vary enormously. Aside from the cost of tuition, you need to consider the cost of living. So, you’ll need to find out about accommodation and travel costs, plus the cost of food, transport, and leisure once you’re there. It’s also worth checking if and what scholarships are available.

6.    Can you describe the campus?

Try to get a sense of what the university community is like. Some campuses are large, with tens of thousands of students, others are smaller and more intimate. Some universities, in Europe in particular, don’t have a self-contained campus but have departments and accommodation dotted around a city. What do you feel would suit you best?

7.    What are the facilities like for the activities I enjoy?

You’ll want to continue any sports, music or hobbies you enjoy in college. Can the university offer good opportunities for you to do so?

8.    What support is available for students like me?

Finally, heading off to university is a big change. It is wise to check if there is support available if you need it. For instance, counsellors and student advisors are usually available. There may also be societies for international students if you are heading abroad, plus clubs and networks for you to meet people with similar interests.

Asking these eight questions will give you a broad picture of what the course, campus and life are like at the universities you are interested in.

Heading off to education fairs like Najah Expo will inspire you with all the amazing opportunities on offer. But with the help of these questions, you can narrow down your choices and get a great starting point for further research.

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