By Rebecca Rogalski, Social Media Intern
With spring break steadily approaching, many students and their families have decided to hit the road and embark on a weeklong journey of college visits. As trivial as it may seem, the impression that you set during college visits will have a direct effect on a college’s admission decision. Think of yourself as a walking advertisement: you are basically saying “pick me” to these schools. It is all in how you present yourself and what image these colleges see of you as they look at your overall profile.
So how do you successfully impress on college visits? The solution may surprise you, as the majority of it comes far before and far after you step foot on campus.
1. Before the Visit: Get Networking
Admissions representatives love hearing from prospective students. It not only shows them that you are interested in their school, but also helps them get to know more about you so that you’re not just another name on an application.
Here are some great steps to get networking:
a. If admissions representatives from your top-choice colleges visit your high school, make sure to meet with them and introduce yourself.
b. Follow up with the same admissions counselor and ask if there is anyone else from the admissions department that you could reach out to.
c. Talk with these individuals over the phone, telling them that you plan on visiting and would like to sit down and chat with them about the admissions process at their school. Most college admissions representatives would be more than happy to do this, as it not only shows interest, but initiative.
2. During the Visit: Connect with your Student Tour Guide
There is much more to dressing and behaving nicely when you take a campus tour. Another great way to impress is to ask thought-provoking questions and get to know your tour guide. After all, he/she is a student representative of the university, and will share with you the in’s and out’s of their school that he/she may not normally mention on a regular tour. Ask them about things that interest you and whether or not they have had experience with those things at the university. At the end of the tour, you could even ask for their contact information in case you have any more questions about student life or the campus itself. Student representatives love to see prospective student’s enthusiasm, as it shows them that you have a genuine interest in their school.
3. After the Visit: Follow-Up
Once you return from a college visit, make sure to follow up with your local admissions representative, any admissions representatives you met at the school, as well as any students you interacted with and got contact information from. They appreciate hearing your thoughts about the visit and want to gage just how interested you still are after visiting.
Last but not least, remember to be CONFIDENT! Exuding confidence is all a part of your final sales pitch to a college. Admissions counselors want to know how a student will contribute to the university’s community, and by explaining your interests, activities, and academics with a sense of confidence and pride, you will be telling schools not only that you belong, but that you will also thrive and succeed at their university.