Review by James Denby, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2019
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The College Fair

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Useful app for students beginning the college admissions process

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • College & Career Prep
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
10–12
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Pros: Opens students' eyes to the many schools available to them; links career interests to educational paths.

Cons: Students have to give a lot of personal data to make full use of the app; navigation isn't always intuitive.

Bottom Line: Guides high school students (and teachers and counselors who want to help them) who are unsure about how to navigate the search for the right college.

The College Fair is directed at high school students. For high school teachers and college counselors, however, the app could easily be used to help students begin or refine their search for colleges and universities. While some students have the advantage of guidance from family or other adults, many students don't have much of a starting point when it comes time to start identifying potential schools. The College Fair includes a very broad range of careers and schools, from the familiar big names to the small and local. 

Assist students by getting them to consider their priorities, and then narrow down school options by applying filters like:

  • Availability of Greek life or study abroad programs
  • Whether the school is in an urban setting
  • Availability of ROTC programs
  • Size of student body
  • Cost of tuition
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The College Fair is a free app (for iOS and Android) designed to help students navigate the college admissions process. The app offers a number of ways for high school students to identify schools, understand admissions policies and rates, and determine the costs of university. To help with the application process, students can watch videos on topics ranging from how to create a college list to finding an academic match.

To identify potential career paths, students can search by general career category (e.g., Information Technology or Arts) and then choose from a range of careers in that field (such as Telecommunications). After selecting, for example, Telecommunications, students can see specific options like Telecommunications Engineering along with a skills profile, recommended education level, and projected job growth (or losses) expected in the future. This can be further refined by state. In the Discover Schools mode, students can narrow down school options by applying filters. For students with more specific ideas of where they want to study, they can search by school, comparing facilities, availability of programs, and cost. 

The most original feature of The College Fair is Kai, the app's chatbot. When using the chatbot, students can indicate an interest in a program like math, and the chatbot returns a number of schools with math degree programs. Students can then select schools of interest. 

The College Fair is a useful way for students to discover potential schools and to begin navigating the often intimidating process of applying to universities. With the enormous number of schools to choose from in the United States, finding the right school can be a daunting process. With The College Fair, even though navigating the app is sometimes counterintuitive, students can narrow down their potential options based on their academic profile, the availability of majors, or even their career interests. For students unsure of where to go or what to study, The College Fair can help in identifying schools, costs, and even programs of study. 

The app can be a good starting point for students who don't have a lot of support in the college admissions process or for students who are really open to schools that aren't nationally known. They can begin putting together a list of options to explore and get further advice on. In order to get the most out of the app, however, they'll need to provide lots of personal data. 

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The app provides as many options as possible to encourage students in their search for schools, but navigation isn't always intuitive. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

A simple way for high school students to identify schools and career paths, understand admissions policies and rates, and determine the costs of attending a university.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Essentially a support tool, the app offers students multiple ways to navigate the college admissions process, but there's not a ton of in-app help, and the chatbot guidance can be hit or miss. 


Common Sense Reviewer
James Denby Educator/Curriculum Developer

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