Back in the old days, high school juniors and seniors would trudge to the local mall or school gymnasium to collect glossy pamphlets in their quest to find their dream college.
But kids today have it easy: The college fair has moved to the internet, reports the Tennessean. "I think you could do it all online," said Hebeh Hindieh, a senior at Nashville’s Hillwood High who has attended online college fairs the past two years to chat with admission officers and search for scholarships to help her attend Vanderbilt University. "It’s easier, and you could just sit at home instead of going to the actual college fair." This week, more than 200 colleges and universities, including Tennessee’s two largest schools, will set up online booths at a virtual college fair consisting of hyperlinks, live video, and chats with admissions counselors. It’s more evidence that colleges are fighting rising costs by trading physical environments for virtual ones as they follow their students–and prospective students–deeper down the internet rabbit hole. "With many students now, they’re so used to interacting and communicating online or via text, that in a way they’re less comfortable in a physical environment," said Robert Rosenbloom, CEO and president of CollegeWeekLive.com, which will host the fair on Wednesday and Thursday. More than 20,000 users are expected to log on to the site, which will host "booths" from more than 200 schools. The format will allow prospective students to download applications from schools across the world, and in many cases chat with admissions and financial aid advisers. "Students may feel intimidated or have questions they don’t want parents or strangers to hear," Rosenbloom said. "Online, they feel really comfortable asking those types of questions."

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