So, you’ve chosen which schools you’d like to visit and started planning trips. Of course you’ll want to make the most of those school visits. While you should always be yourself, there are some do’s and don’ts that will help you make a good impression when it comes to interacting with any school’s admissions team.
Listening is super important, but asking great follow-up questions shows that you’re really thinking about what it would be like to attend that school.
Contact your admissions counselor
This may very well be the person who will be reading your application, so it helps greatly if they have some deeper sense of who you are. Being yourself will also help the admissions counselor remember you, and, with any luck, like you enough for them to be subconsciously ‘pulling for you’ when processing your admissions file.
Express interest and excitement about being a future student
Schools want students who are going to be good ambassadors for their institution. As a student, you’re one of their best marketing tools for attracting other students. Showing excitement is a good sign that you’ll be a good ambassador in the future.
Open emails and click through to links
A lot of schools track your interactions with them, so it is important that you actually read the emails they send you and click on links to show that you are hungry for more information when it comes.
Visit the school webpage
Looking through the website shows you are doing your due diligence on that school. It will also help you avoid asking questions of your admissions counselor that can be found easily on the school webpage.
Ask for interview and meeting with department/professor/coach/other student
You can show intellectual curiosity and forethought by asking to talk with other students or personnel at the school that can enlighten you on areas of particular interest. This could be a professor from your preferred major, a coach, a student participating in organizations you are interested in, etc.
Write a thank you note to your tour guide
They’ve met you and hopefully you’ve asked some good questions during your tour. By writing a short thank you note and mentioning something specific about your interaction with them, you’ll be the one that really stands out in their mind. Remember - they’re keeping track of your interactions, so you want to be the student they remember!
Have patience - these folks have a lot of potential students to talk to
The admissions team is dealing with tons of students like you. They have to be the face of the school, and, no doubt, that can sometimes be trying. They’ll likely hide it pretty well if something isn’t going well that day or they’ve had some frustration, so be patient with them. If they are starting late or are unable to answer your questions, this is not the time to have an attitude. A simple smile and kind word can go a long way, especially when something isn’t going smoothly.
Batch your questions so you aren’t pinging them constantly
We already mentioned that it’s a good idea to be in contact with your admissions counselor, but that doesn’t mean you should pester them with constant inquiries. Batch your questions when possible, let your personality come through, but keep your interaction professional as well.
Don’t ask questions that can be answered by reading the school webpage or googled
Your questions should go deeper than the basics of the admissions process or school statistics. If you can google and find the answer, don’t contact your admissions counselor about it.
Don’t wait until the last minute or call in a panic to get the information you need
What is that old saying? Your lack of planning is not my emergency? Try to get everything done well in advance of any deadlines so that if you do have a question, you’re not desperately calling your admissions counselor and expecting them to do back flips for you at the last minute.
Student should ask the questions and make contact with guidance from parents.
Afterall, college students, for the most part, are technically adults. Many of them will be leaving home to attend school. They need to be able to handle their own affairs. Colleges don’t want a group of freshmen they have to babysit. It’s ok for parents to be involved in school communications alongside the student, especially if the question involves the parents’ finances, but the student should lead the conversation and invite parents to step in when needed.