Regional team effort prevailed as the virtual South Asia tour was described by several participating U.S. Higher Education Institutions (HEI) Representatives as the “best virtual fair [they had] participated in.” Held over two weekends, the Graduate Fair came first on October 2 and 3, followed by the Undergraduate Fair on the October 9 and 10. Pakistan collaborated with its South Asian partners India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan to ensure that our local students did not miss out the opportunity to participate in an education fair on account of the pandemic. In addition to connecting students with HEI’s the broader public benefit of free fairs of this scale is to create greater cultural understanding of the U.S. higher education system and the variety of ways in which it can fit students of diverse backgrounds.
With 190 HEI’s participating, this event was a one stop shop for students interested in learning about the opportunities ready for their avail. On hand were 150 Undergraduate programs or 118 Graduate programs as well as EducationUSA Pakistan Advisers available to answer more general questions regarding the application process and financial aid.
In addition to being able to chat with advisers and representatives, fair attendees could also participate in webinars programmed for the undergraduate and graduate audience. These webinars had admissions officers and HEI representatives as panelists and addressed in-demand topics such as the Visa application process, finding a best fit college and crafting winning essays. These dove deep into frequently asked questions giving students greater insight into a process that can seem opaque and giving the HEI representatives manning the booths a respite from answering broad questions in lieu of the university specific ones for which they are specially equipped.
A total of 2,636 students from Pakistan attended the Virtual Fair, which, by the nature of its decentralization, meant that the attendees were not as severely concentrated in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi as is the case with in-person fairs. The easy-to-use platform and convenience of joining from home and tailoring the experience to one’s own individual needs all contributed towards the success of the virtual iteration of the biannual South Asia Tour.