Education: Shopping for College

The scene in Atlanta's Civic Center resembled an industrial trade show as hundreds of customers drifted past display booths festooned with bright banners and posters. A revolving display in one booth vied for attention with a video-tape demonstration next door. Some salesmen engaged visitors hi animated discussion, while others passed out catalogues and brochures. The products they were promoting were not power boats or automobiles but colleges. Their customers were 1,000 high school students and their parents, drawn to the city's first national college fair.

Similar fairs are taking place hi other cities, sponsored by the National Association of College Admissions Counselors...