Starting in September, students will have opportunities to meet with college admissions representatives. The meeting may be a formal interview or an informal interview, or the meeting may take place at a high school college visit or a national college fair. Whenever the encounter, knowing what to expect and being prepared for the meeting will help the student get through any interaction.
Prior to going on a college visit or meeting with an admissions representative, students should do a little research on the school. Start by looking through the brochures and on the college’s website. Type the school name into a search engine and see what comes up. Go to their social media pages and see what’s trending. Students should know why they want to attend a school, which programs and activities interest them, and why and what inspires them about the school.
Students get extra points from a school for demonstrating interest. Signing in lets a college know that a student attended an event and was interested to stop by. Be sure to “sign in” to all informational sessions attended or on any sign-in sheet available. Students must remember to use legible handwriting, the same spelling of their name that they use on the college application, and the same email address they plan to use for all college admissions correspondence. If not, the college will think they are more than one person and the student may lose the “credit.” Meeting with a representative also gives students good conversation for more formal admissions interviews. It is also an action that can be mentioned in an admissions essay.
Ask thoughtful questions.
To avoid being another face in the crowd, students should ask specific questions that call attention to their specific interests about a particular college. Good questions include: “What is the personality of this college as you’ve experienced it? What kind of student is happy here? What are some of the best features of the school?” Stay away from questions with answers that can easily be found on the website or in the catalog. Also stay away from questions that can be answered “Yes” or “No.” Try to think like a journalist looking for answers.
Dress for success.
The key is to dress in a manner that suggests a student is serious and taking the meeting seriously. It’s about putting one’s best foot forward and showing respect, enthusiasm, and interest in a formal atmosphere. For men, a safe list of clothes includes khaki pants, a light blue or white collared shirt, and a jacket. For ladies, a nice blouse, a skirt that extends to the knees or pats, and possibly a jacket. Showing a flash of personality is nice as long as it doesn’t include anything provocative or profane. Students with required school uniforms should make sure to wear the more formal style. Clothes need to be neat, not as if one fell out of bed and into yesterday’s clothes.
Act like a professional.
During the encounter, students want to be professional, engaging, positive and enthusiastic at all times.
- Look the representative in the eye.
- Show up on time.
- Turn cell phones off.
- Avoid giving yes or no answers.
- Answer the rep’s questions truthfully. For example, if asked what other colleges are being considered, it’s ok to name a couple.
The impression a student makes does not end when the info session ends. Students should write a handwritten thank-you note after the interview or meeting to show that they are a professional, polite person who values the admission representative’s time.
Remember, if you are interested in a school, please do try to show up! If an admissions rep comes to your school or your hometown, the expectation will be that interested students will come to listen and learn.